NASHVILLE – A 21-count superseding indictment unsealed Wednesday charges 12 individuals with conspiring to violate federal firearms statutes, including dealing in firearms without a license; transporting and receiving firearms into another state; making false statements to a federally licensed firearm dealer; conspiring to possess firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking crimes and to use and carry firearms in relation to crimes of violence; and conspiring to commit money laundering, as well as other related substantive offenses.
The announcement was made by Attorney General Merrick B. Garland; U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee; U.S. Attorney John Lausch for the Northern District of Illinois; Mickey French, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Nashville Field Division; ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division Kristen de Tineo; Donald “Trey” Eakins, Special Agent in charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation, Charlotte Field Office; and Mr. Guy Surian, Assistant Director for Investigations and Operations, U.S. Army CID.
Wednesday morning, agents from the ATF, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and officers from the Chicago Police Department and the Davenport, Iowa, Police Department began arresting those charged in the indictment. As of this morning, six of those charged are in custody and the remaining defendants are currently being sought by law enforcement.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois will handle the initial appearances by all defendants before they are transferred to the Middle District of Tennessee for further proceedings.
In July 2021, Demarcus Adams, 21; Jarius Brunson, 22; and Brandon Miller, 22, were enlisted members of the U.S. Army and stationed at the Fort Campbell military installation in Clarksville, Tennessee, and were charged by indictment with crimes stemming from the purchase and transfer of dozens of firearms to the streets of Chicago. In addition to these defendants, this superseding indictment charges the following nine individuals in the conspiracies and other substantive offenses: Blaise Smith, 29; Rahaeem Johnson, aka Rah, 24; Bryant Larkin, 33; Corey Curtis, 26; Elijah Tillman, 24; Lazarus Greenwood, aka Zarro, 23; Dwight Lowry, aka Ike, 41; Dreshion Parks, 25, all of Chicago; and Terrell Mitchell, 27, of Davenport, Iowa.
Two individuals alleged to be part of the conspiracies died as a result of gang violence, which was facilitated by the firearms illegally transferred to individuals in the Chicago area prior to this indictment.
The indictment alleges that the new defendants are members of the Gangster Disciples street gang in the Pocket Town neighborhood of Chicago. Between December 2020 and April 2021, the defendants conspired to purchase and deliver over 90 illegally obtained firearms to the Chicago area to facilitate the on-going violent disputes between the Pocket Town Gangster Disciples and their rival gangs.
The indictment further alleges the methods used by co-conspirators to purchase firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers in the Clarksville, Tenn. and Oak Grove, Kentucky areas, which included communicating via text messages to coordinate the purchase and delivery of firearms to the Chicago area; providing false information on firearms purchase application forms; and using apps such as Zelle and CashApp to facilitate payment for the illegal transfer of firearms. On one occasion, the indictment alleges that in addition to several firearms available for sale, Brandon Miller had 1,000 rounds of 9mm ammunition available for purchase.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison on one or more of the charged counts.
This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives-Nashville, Chicago, and Des Moines Divisions; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division; the IRS-CI – Charlotte and Chicago Field Offices; the Clarksville, Tenn. Police Department; the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Crime Gun Intelligence Center; and the Davenport, Iowa Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Josh Kurtzman and Kathryn Risinger are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an accusation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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