The Justice Department announced Tuesday that officials have indicted and convicted dozens of criminals gun crime in chicago As part of President Biden’s 2021 “Strike Force” initiative.
The DOJ also said that “a significant number” of guns recovered in Chicago are smuggled illegally from outside the Windy City.
“Whether individuals are smuggling guns from Wisconsin to Chicago or shipping guns from other states to places like Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha, we work with our federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to catch firearms smugglers. Fully committed to doing the work. Straw buyers are fully accountable,” said Richard G., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Froling said in a Tuesday statement.
Biden took the initiative last summer in an effort to help stop the violet crime and gun smuggling in Chicago, which recorded a 25 year high in murders in the past year, as well as in other major US cities.
Since then, local and federal officials in Illinois and Wisconsin have arrested several dozen individuals who have been charged or convicted. smuggling firearms According to a press release in Chicago.
In one instance, officers accused Arshad Zayed, 38, of Orland Hills, Illinois, of illegally selling firearms, including “ghost guns” and machine guns, in Chicago. According to the DOJ, many of his illegal transactions took place at car washes. In another, an Illinois judge sentenced suburban Chicago man John Phillips to eight and a half years in prison for smuggling guns from Kentucky to Chicago—many of which law enforcement officers discovered at crime scenes in Chicago.
In the Northern District of Indiana, officials accused 24 people of straw-purchasing more than 150 firearms and lying about their ability to purchase 100 firearms. In the Southern District of Indiana, six people were charged with 90 firearms charges for buying straw. Dozens of guns purchased by these suspects were recovered at crime sites in Chicago.
In July, an Indiana man pleaded guilty to buying a gun for an Illinois man who was later charged with fatally shooting Chicago Officer Ella French on August 7, 2021. Two brothers, 22-year-old Eric Morgan and 21-year-old Monty “Amonte” Morgan, are accused of fatal shooting French, who was 29 at the time of her death, when she was stopping traffic in August 2021.
“Firearms smugglers and straw buyers perpetrate violence,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois said in a statement Tuesday. “Over the past year, the cross-judicial strike force has increased cooperation with our law enforcement partners and our long-standing efforts to hold individuals or groups responsible for illegally smuggling firearms into Chicago.”
The US Attorney’s offices also announced that they are seeking pre-trial detention for defendants who pose a threat to their communities.
“A primary goal of our office is to reduce violent crime, and we will continue to use every available federal law enforcement tool to keep people safe,” Losch continued.
Citywide homicides have decreased by 18% in Chicago so far this year, with 425 recorded for the week ending August, compared to 519 at the same time last year. Shooting incidents have also come down by 18%, with 1,828 recorded this year as compared to 2,239 in 2021. According to the Chicago Police Department, overall violent crime categories in Chicago increased in 2022 compared to 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018. crime statistics.