For Immediate Release
Firearms Trafficker Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Unlawfully Dealing Handguns and “Switch” Devices in Chicago Area
CHICAGO — A federal judge has sentenced a Chicago-area firearms trafficker to ten years in prison for unlawfully dealing handguns and “switch” devices capable of converting semi-automatic firearms into machine guns.
In September 2020, LEONARD D. JOHNSON supplied at least four “switch” devices, also known as “Glock switches,” to an individual who later sold them to a confidential informant and an undercover law enforcement officer. The individual and Johnson then split the proceeds. In December 2020, law enforcement executed a court-authorized search of Johnson’s residence in Robbins, Ill., and discovered 117 “switch” devices and three handguns that had been converted into machine guns, as well as another handgun, a silencer, three extended magazines, and ammunition.
Johnson was arrested in December 2020 on a federal firearm charge. He violated his conditions of pre-trial release while continuing to traffic firearms in 2021. He later fled to Georgia, where he was arrested in March 2022.
Johnson, also known as “Scrap,” 34, pleaded guilty in June 2022 to one count of unlawfully dealing firearms and one count of illegal possession of a machine gun. U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall imposed the ten-year prison sentence on Aug. 25, 2022.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Valuable assistance was provided by the Lansing, Ill., Police Department and the Midlothian, Ill., Police Department.
“Defendant was a prolific machine gun dealer in the Chicago area,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles W. Mulaney argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Glock switches are a prevalent danger in this community that have no purpose other than to inflict maximum damage on enemies and any innocent bystanders who get caught in the spray of bullets.”
Disrupting illegal firearms trafficking is the focus of the Department of Justice’s Chicago Firearms Trafficking Strike Force. As part of the strike force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office collaborates with ATF and other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in the Northern District of Illinois and across the country to help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms and identify patterns, leads, and potential suspects in violent gun crimes.
Holding firearm offenders accountable through federal prosecution is also a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods. In the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, particularly firearm offenses.