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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, December 1, 2022

Chicago Man Sentenced to Nearly Eight Years in Federal Prison for Robbing Undercover Law Enforcement Officer During Gun Deal

CHICAGO — A Chicago man has been sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison for using a machine gun to rob a law enforcement officer during an undercover firearms transaction.

CORTEZ PRICE arranged to sell a handgun equipped with a “switch” device to the undercover officer on May 2, 2022, in a drug store parking lot in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Upon arriving at the meeting, Price got into the front seat of the officer’s vehicle and accepted $1,900 in cash from the officer. Instead of handing over the firearm, Price inserted high-capacity ammunition into it and racked the slide. He then got out of the vehicle with the money and the loaded gun and fled the area. With the assistance of aerial support, law enforcement followed Price to a nearby residence and arrested him.

Price had previously sold three firearms to the undercover officer and stated in social media communications that he engaged in numerous other negotiations to buy, sell, or arrange the sale of firearms. The “switch” device on the gun Price possessed during the robbery converted the firearm into a fully automatic machine gun.

Price, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal firearm charges. U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed a 93-month prison sentence after a hearing Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey L. Matthews, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Substantial assistance was provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“By individually participating in violent armed conduct and trafficking firearms to others, defendant became part of one of the district’s most pressing crime problems,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hayes argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “The toll that gun violence inflicts on individuals and neighborhoods in Chicago is inescapable to anyone residing in this district.”

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, CPD, 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 illegal firearm possessors accountable through federal prosecution is also 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, particularly firearm offenses.

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