A man facing a federal gun charge after a June standoff in Moline has pleaded guilty.
Steven A. Ashby Jr., 34, of Rock Island, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a single count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. Ashby is accused of having a sawed-off shotgun and a .22-caliber rifle on June 23 even though he has a felony conviction on his record.
Ashby was arrested after police executed a search warrant on a residence in the 2300 block of 19th Avenue in Moline, Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos said at the time. During the warrant’s execution, the home’s occupants refused to come outside, leading to a standoff. The situation was resolved by 2:30 a.m. when two people, one of them Ashby, were taken into custody.
The warrant was based on allegations by several people that Ashby was selling drugs and guns out of the residence, according to Rock Island County court records. Informants also said Ashby was building improvised explosive devices in the home and provided photos that allegedly depicted Ashby holding firearms.
There also were photos of objects identified by Quad-City Bomb Squad members as explosive devices, court documents state. Two informants told authorities Ashby was building the devices to use against rival gang members.
The photos were time-stamped within seven days of the warrant, which was requested June 22, court documents state.
Bustos said drug paraphernalia and a small amount of methamphetamine also were recovered from the home. There was no report of any explosive devices being found, but the bomb squad was present as a precaution because of the reports to police.
The Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office initially charged Ashby with several counts of unlawful use or possession of weapons by felons, but those charges were dismissed in August because of the federal case.
Federal court records state Ashby's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 8. A presentence investigation has been ordered. Such investigations are designed to provide details of a defendant's background, including criminal history, to aid the judge in determining the appropriate sentence.
Sentencing hearings can also include input from prosecutors and the defense counsel, as well as testimony from witnesses. Both sides present cases about what they believe the sentence should be and why.