For Immediate Release
Indiana Man Sentenced to Two Years for Bringing Guns into Illinois and Illegally Selling Them on the Streets of Chicago
CHICAGO — An Indiana man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for unlawfully dealing firearms on the West Side of Chicago.
In the fall of 2013 WILLIE LEE BILES JR. made multiple trips on a Megabus to Chicago from his home in Indianapolis, each time bringing handguns with him. Biles had legally purchased at least 29 firearms from licensed dealers in Indiana. Once in Chicago, Biles sold the firearms to individuals on the West Side for more than two times the price that Biles had paid for them.
Biles never asked any of the individuals for identification, and he failed to verify whether they could legally possess firearms. At least one of the individuals to whom Biles sold four firearms was a convicted felon who could not legally possess a firearm. Twelve of the firearms Biles sold were later recovered by law enforcement.
A jury last year convicted Biles, 44, of willfully dealing firearms without a license. U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis imposed the 24-month sentence Thursday in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence 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 defendant conducted no background checks on his ‘customers,’ required no waiting period, and kept no records,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher V. Parente and Elizabeth R. Pozolo argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “These firearms have been used in attempted murders, recovered from documented gang members, convicted felons, and hidden inside drug stash houses.”
The convicted felon to whom Biles sold guns was previously sentenced in the case. OTTO LEWELLEN, of Bellwood, pleaded guilty in 2015 to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Lewellen stated in a plea agreement that he met Biles on multiple occasions in Chicago and Bellwood in the fall of 2013. During these meetings, Lewellen observed Biles holding a bag of firearms and selling the weapons to various individuals, according to Lewellen’s plea agreement. Lewellen admitted that he purchased four firearms from Biles. Authorities recovered two of them, but Lewellen said he sold the other two to a man he knew as “Red.” Officials have not been able to locate Red or the two guns. Judge Ellis in 2015 sentenced Lewellen to 18 months in prison.
The investigation was conducted with the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA). Substantial assistance was provided by the Illinois State Police, Chicago Police Department, Bellwood Police Department and ATF Indianapolis Field Office.