DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Joel R. Levin
, United States Attorney

Convicted Felon Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Stealing Firearms from Cargo Train

CHICAGO — A federal judge today sentenced a convicted felon to ten years in prison for stealing hundreds of firearms from a cargo train on the South Side of Chicago and selling more than a dozen of them.


On April 12, 2015, ANDREW SHELTON and several acquaintances burglarized the cargo train while it was parked overnight in a railyard in Chicago’s Avalon Park neighborhood.  The cargo train was en route from a Ruger factory in New Hampshire to Spokane, Wash.  The thieves broke locks on a train car and walked off with approximately 111 firearms, with Shelton keeping 13 guns for himself.  He quickly sold the 13 firearms on the black market.


To date, law enforcement has recovered 19 of the 111 stolen firearms at various locations and crime scenes in Chicago and the surrounding area.


Shelton, 43, of Riverdale, had previously been convicted of a felony and was not legally allowed to possess a firearm.  He pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon, and one count of possession of a stolen firearm.  U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. imposed the 120-month sentence in federal court in Chicago.


The sentencing 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.  The Chicago Police Department and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Police Department provided valuable assistance.


“No efforts by law enforcement to stop the senseless killings in this city by keeping guns out of the hands of felons will be successful when there are individuals like the defendant and his codefendants who are willing to profit off of illegal arms trafficking in Chicago,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher V. Parente and Eric Pruitt argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.


The investigation into the theft and trafficking of the firearms resulted in charges against eleven defendants, including Shelton.  Ten have been convicted, while one defendant, DANDRE MOODY, is awaiting a jury trial on Dec. 11, 2017.


The ten convictions include FREDERICK LEWIS (scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Tharp on Oct. 5, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.); PATRICK EDWARDS (scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Tharp on Oct. 12, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.); TERRY WALKER (scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Tharp on Dec. 6, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.); WARREN GATES (sentenced to five years and three months in prison); NATHAN DRIGGERS (sentenced to eight years in prison); LORI SHELTON (sentenced to three years of probation); ELGIN LIPSCOMB (awaiting sentencing); MARCEL TURNER (awaiting sentencing); and ALEXANDER PEEBLES (awaiting sentencing).


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Chicago Field Division