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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
Morris Pasqual, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, April 12, 2024

Firearms Trafficker Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison for Unlawfully Dealing Firearms and “Switch” Devices in Chicago Area

CHICAGO — A federal judge has sentenced a Chicago-area firearms trafficker to nearly six years in prison for unlawfully dealing handguns, rifles, and “switch” devices capable of converting semi-automatic firearms into machine guns.

Over a three-month period last year, ROGELIO CASTANEDA sold nine firearms and 28 “switch” devices, also known as “Glock switches,” to undercover law enforcement agents.  The sales occurred in Chicago, Stickney, Ill., and Hammond, Ind.  Three of the guns sold by Castaneda were unlicensed, privately made firearms.  At the time of his illegal sales, Castaneda was on pre-trial release for a firearms charge in the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Castaneda, 30, of Chicago, pleaded guilty in December 2023 to one count of unlawfully possessing a machine gun.  U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed a 70-month prison sentence during a hearing Tuesday in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Christopher Amon, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and Larry Snelling, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“The city of Chicago continues to face a gun violence epidemic,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary McDonnell argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum.  “Glock switches and converted Glocks are a grave threat to public safety and serve no purpose other than to inflict maximum damage on enemies and innocent bystanders.”

Disrupting illegal firearms trafficking is the focus of the Department of Justice’s 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 firearm offenders accountable through federal prosecution is also a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide initiative that brings together law enforcement officials, prosecutors, community leaders, and other stakeholders to develop comprehensive solutions to the most pressing violent crime problems in a community.  In the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, particularly firearm offenses.

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