For Immediate Release
Source of Firearms for Violent Chicago Gang Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison
CHICAGO — A federal judge today sentenced a Chicago man to four years in prison for unlawfully supplying guns to a violent street gang.
From February 2015 to May 2016, ANTHONY MORGAN directed and paid for an acquaintance to purchase at least seven guns in New Mexico. The weapons were shipped through the mail to Morgan’s residence in Chicago. Morgan then supplied some of the guns to members of his violent street gang on the city’s South Side. Law enforcement later tied two of the firearms to homicides, including the November 2015 murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood.
Morgan, 32, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal firearms conspiracy charge. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle imposed the 48-month sentence in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Timothy Jones, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
During the investigation, law enforcement utilized ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms.
Holding firearms traffickers accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods – the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy. 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, including by prosecuting individuals who illegally traffic firearms.
Evidence in the case revealed that Morgan directed his acquaintance in New Mexico to purchase the guns in four separate transactions. Of the seven guns Morgan received, two were linked to murders, one was linked to a shooting that left two people wounded, and another was recovered in Morgan’s vehicle after CPD responded to an emergency call of shots fired on the Fourth of July 2017. In addition to the murder of Tyshawn Lee, the other fatality connected to one of Morgan’s guns involved the murder of a man on Chicago’s North Side in January 2016.
“This is a case study in how illegal guns flood this district and terrorize our community,” Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Durkin argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Illegal firearms are the lifeblood of violent crime in this city, and they need to be treated as such.”