News Release
February 3, 2010
Contact: Casey McEnry
Number: 415-436-7994

Leader of an Armed Robbery Crew Pleads Guilty

FEB 3 -- SACRAMENTO – United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Anthony D. Williams, announced today that ERIC KEITH SILLS, 38, of Oroville, California, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton today to one count of drug trafficking and one count of brandishing of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

This case is the product of a joint investigation by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Beckwith, who is prosecuting the case, SILLS and three other men dressed up as law enforcement officers to rob a marijuana grow in Butte County. The men, armed with shotguns and semiautomatic pistols, detained a person guarding the grow at gunpoint. Law enforcement later executed a search warrant at SILLS’s house and found over 120 pounds of processed marijuana, a MAC-10 machine pistol, a .357 revolver, a loaded .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun, a Panther stun gun, police badges, gun cases, shirts with sheriff’s or police insignia, night vision goggles, two sets of handcuffs, and a radio on a tactical police sling.

SILLS is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Karlton on April 13, 2010, at 9:15 a.m. He faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and a term of supervised release from three years to life for the drug trafficking charge and life in prison (with a seven-year mandatory minimum sentence), a $250,000 fine, and a three-year term of supervised release for brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables and any applicable statutory sentencing factors.

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