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More charges filed against man arrested by ATF at Somers Walmart
New felony counts

More charges filed against man arrested by ATF at Somers Walmart

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A search warrant at the home of a 40-year-old Kenosha man arrested in May by agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms uncovered more than $500,000 in cash, a criminal complaint filed Wednesday indicated.

Rene M. Palma, who has been in custody at the Kenosha County Detention Center since his May 27 arrest on a $200,000 cash bond, now faces six additional felony charges.

Palma, of the 7000 block of 63rd Avenue, is charged with three counts each of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm silencer, along with felony counts of possession of cocaine and possession with intent to deliver marijuana. The new charges carry a total maximum prison term of 61 years, six months in prison and a total fine of $140,000.

The charges were filed after the search warrant was executed, special prosecutor Ian Hackett said Wednesday, who added the delay in filing charges happened because he was waiting for the ATF to complete its report.

“The allegations in the (new) complaint are extremely concerning,” he said. “They’re very similar in the counts that are alleged (in the other case).”

Kenosha County Court Commissioner Loren Keating imposed a $50,000 cash bond on the new charges.

“These are serious (charges), six counts total, three with possession of firearms by a felon, then three counts of (possession) of firearms with a silencer,” Keating said. “It’s alleged there was over $500,000 in U.S. currency in a safe and illegal drugs.

“Those are all concerning to this court with respect to this defendant’s appearance in court and his ability to leave the jurisdiction.”

Initial firearms allegations

In the original case against Palma, who was arrested after he allegedly sold firearms to an informant at the Somers Walmart, 3300 Brumback Boulevard, he is charged with six felony counts: one for being a felon in possession of a firearm, two felony counts of selling/possessing/using/transporting machine guns and one felony count of fleeing/eluding.

All totaled, those charges carry a possible prison term of 75 years, six months and a fine of $180,000.

Palma was represented in court by defense attorney Hilary Edwards, but only as a friend to the court, as Palma indicated his plans to obtain private counsel. He is due back for an adjourned initial appearance at 1 p.m. on Nov. 12. A judicial pre-trial on the original charges is set for 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Search warrant executed

According to the criminal complaint in the most recent case:

Agents executed a search warrant at Palma’s Kenosha residence, where they found a 9 mm firearm with an extended magazine loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, additional ammunition and another extended 9 mm magazine. In a search of the basement, the located a safe with more than $500,000 in cash.

Also in the safe were more firearms, along with three silencers.

Later that day, agents executed a search warrant at Palma’s workplace, where they used keys provided by the defendant to open a toolbox and found several suspected packages of narcotics. The substances later tested positive for 5.37 grams of cocaine and 5.5 pounds of marijuana.

Criminal court records indicate that Palma was previously convicted of a felony count of falsely acting as a public official in Kenosha County and for manufacturing/delivering cocaine in Lake County, Illinois.

At his initial appearance on the original charges, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney Carli McNeill said the drug conviction in Illinois resulted in an eight-year prison term for Palma, while the Kenosha County case led to an 18-month prison term.

In that case, which originated in 2007, McNeill said a shot was fired into a vehicle, and during the course of the investigation, Palma alleged that he was a North Chicago police officer.

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