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A Gary man was sentenced Thursday to eight years in federal prison for illegal gun possession.

Derek T. Edwards, 40, was arrested Feb. 15 after authorities were dispatched for a car crash at 8th Avenue and Grant Street in Gary, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office press release.

Officers found a gun magazine in a vehicle occupied by Edwards. After further searching, they found a semiautomatic pistol, which Edwards was prohibited from possessing due to prior felony convictions.

In 2014, Edwards was convicted in Lake County of felony drug possession. He also had three prior felony convictions in Wisconsin, the release states.

Edwards pleaded guilty July 11 in U.S. District Court to being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Edwards will serve two years of supervised release after prison.

The case was filed as part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program.

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Lake County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Steve covers Lake County courts and social justice issues for The Times. The UW-Milwaukee graduate joined The Times in 2016 after reporting on criminal justice in New Mexico and Wisconsin.