Three soldiers out of Fort Campbell have been charged with purchasing and selling weapons, some of which were used in violent homicides in Chicago, according to NPR. The three men are enlisted U.S. Army members from Fort Campbell which is home to the 101st Airborne Division. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division and the ATF teamed up to make the arrests.
The trio has been charged with a slew of crimes related to the illegal trafficking of weapons. These will be charged as federal crimes. These include transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident, making false statements concerning the acquisition of a firearm, wire fraud, money laundering, and other charges related to the scheme.
Prosecutors have identified the ring leader as 24-year-old Brandon Miller. Prosecutors have asked that Miller be denied bond as he allegedly poses a significant flight risk.
How Police Became Involved
The investigation began in March after a mass shooting in Chicago left eight wounded and one dead at a party. Police found that five of the guns recovered at the scene had been purchased by dealers in Clarkesville, TN. The purchasers were identified as three servicemen from Fort Campbell. Authorities discovered that the three men purchased over 90 guns from various Tennessee dealers and that the majority of those guns were purchased within the last five months. These guns were later sent to associates of Miller in the Chicago area.
After searching Miller’s home, police recovered 49 empty firearms cases that matched guns found on the streets of Chicago.
What is Illegal Here?
Purchasing guns as a reseller is not illegal. However, the gun trade is tightly regulated especially here in Chicago where gun violence is common. Shill buyers can purchase guns in another state and then sell them on the streets for profit. However, in order to do this successfully, you must ensure that you lie to the federal government. Upon lying to the federal government on the application to purchase the weapon, you are committing the crime of fraud. The money gained from the endeavor must be laundered through a legitimate business. The act of transferring the weapon across state lines for the purpose of committing a crime is also illegal. The transfer of the weapons to unregistered gun owners is also a crime.
Since the charges were investigated by the ATF in conjunction with U.S. military police, the soldiers will be facing federal gun trafficking charges. It is unclear as of yet what sentence the prosecution will be looking for in this case. However, gun trafficking is a serious felony crime, and weapons they sold were implicated in at least one mass shooting. So chances are good they will be in prison for a while.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing serious criminal charges in the Chicago area, then you need the best representation you can find. Call David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and allow us to begin building your defense immediately.