EAST ST. LOUIS • A teenager from Centralia, Ill., could face at least 20 years in prison after admitting in federal court here Wednesday that he planned to participate in looting in Ferguson and sell guns to protesters.
Dakota R. Moss, 19, and a juvenile used a stolen truck on Nov. 29 to ram their way through a fence outside the Buchheit farm and home store in Centralia, his plea documents say. They broke in and over a period of 80 minutes took 39 rifles, pistols and shotguns and at least 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
They armed themselves with stolen guns “to use in the event that store personnel or police interrupted the burglary,” the documents say. They allegedly talked about taking the stolen guns to Ferguson to sell and loot stores, and also tried to find gun buyers locally.
Centralia is about 60 miles east of St. Louis.
Moss pleaded guilty of stealing firearms from a federal licensee, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by violence, carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, possession of stolen firearms and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Under federal guidelines, he faces 248 to 295 months in prison; Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Weinhoeft agreed to recommend the low end of that range.
Moss was on parole from a three-year prison sentence on stolen vehicle charges at the time of the crime. The burglary capped a two-day “crime spree” during which Moss stole multiple vehicles from two locations, Centralia police Lt. Greg Dodson has said.
Dodson said the two defendants had no connections in Ferguson and he characterized their plans as “big talk.”
Moss told U.S. District Judge David Herndon that he dropped out of high school in the 11th grade.
Moss’ accomplice was arrested on the street Nov. 30 while armed with two of the stolen guns, charging documents claim. Clinton County State’s Attorney John Hudspeth said Wednesday the case against the juvenile has been “resolved” and he is in state custody.
Moss still faces state charges of burglary and unlawful possession of a weapon by a felon, Hudspeth said.
U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton issued a statement that said, in part, “Moss is facing a longer time in prison than the time he has been on this earth, and for good reason: This was potentially a horribly violent crime which could easily have led to massive numbers of deaths.”