For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
, United States Attorney
Joel R. Levin
Contact: AUSA Assigned
Chicago Man Guilty of Brokering More Than 70 Illegal Gun Transactions
Chicago Field Division
CHICAGO — A convicted felon from Chicago pleaded guilty today to federal firearm offenses, admitting that he brokered more than 70 illegal gun transactions.
JOHN THOMAS, 33, also known as "Batman," pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one count of dealing firearms without a license. The conviction carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 30, 2017, at 10:00 a.m.
The case against Thomas arose out of a larger federal investigation that has removed more than 100 illegal guns from the streets of Chicago. The federal probe involved controlled firearm sales to cooperating individuals.
The guilty plea was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Celinez Nunez, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"Illegally brokering the sale of guns on the streets of Chicago poses a tremendous danger to the community," said Acting U.S. Attorney Levin. "Prosecuting firearms offenses is a top priority in our office, and we will continue our efforts to disrupt the availability of illegal guns in our city."
Thomas admitted in a plea agreement that he brokered the sale of 77 illegal guns, including rifles, shotguns and handguns. Some of the guns had obliterated serial numbers or had previously been reported stolen. Thomas either obtained the firearms himself and then sold them to individuals, or he arranged for the owner of the firearms to sell the guns to individuals in exchange for a fee for setting up the transaction, the plea agreement states. Unbeknownst to Thomas, the individuals who purported to purchase the guns were cooperating with law enforcement.
Thomas was previously convicted of a felony and was not legally authorized to possess any firearms.
One of the sales occurred on July 23, 2014, when Thomas arranged a meeting between a man identified in court records as Individual A, along with JAMEL DAVIS and a cooperating individual. The transaction, which took place in Davis’ garage in the 7600 block of South Seeley Avenue in Chicago, involved the sale of two .38-caliber revolvers. A federal jury last year convicted Davis of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon. Davis faces up to ten years in prison when he is sentenced later this month.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicole Kim and Carol Bell.