Chicago Man Sentenced to 37 Months in Federal Prison for Trafficking Dozens of Guns from Indiana to the Streets of Chicago
CHICAGO — A Chicago man who helped purchase 43 firearms in Indiana and transport them to Illinois for sale on the streets of Chicago was sentenced today to 37 months in prison.
After purchasing the weapons at gun shows and from individual vendors in Crown Point and Indianapolis, WINSTON GERALDS helped bring the firearms into Illinois and sell them on the South Side of Chicago. Unbeknownst to Geralds, the Chicago buyer was cooperating with law enforcement officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Geralds, 25, pleaded guilty in May to one count of illegally transporting firearms across state lines. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee imposed the 37-month sentence in federal court in Chicago.
“The defendant arranged for the sale of unregistered and untraceable firearms on the side streets and back alleys of Chicago’s neighborhoods,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bethany K. Biesenthal and Christopher V. Parente argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “By directly assisting in the supply of firearms to this city, the defendant very directly contributed to the cycle of gun violence.”
Geralds used middlemen to facilitate selling the guns to the cooperating source. In four separate meetings on April 22, 2012, the middlemen sold 20 weapons to the cooperating source at locations in the Greater Grand Crossing and Chinatown neighborhoods of Chicago. The following day, the middlemen sold 23 more guns to the cooperating source in a Chinatown parking lot.
Five other defendants, including one middleman, were charged in connection with this investigation:
- Levaine Tanksley, of Chicago, served as a middleman in the transactions with the cooperating source. Tanksley pleaded guilty to unlawfully transporting a firearm and was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison.
- Charles Lemle, of Chicago, acted as security for at least one of the firearm deals with the cooperating source. Lemle pleaded guilty to unlawfully transporting a firearm and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Prior to the guilty plea, Lemle violated the terms of his pretrial release by possessing a gun on New Year’s Eve 2013. An additional indictment was filed, and Lemle pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He is set to be sentenced by Judge Lee on Oct. 7, 2015.
- Michael Hall, of Chicago, acted as security for at least one of the firearm deals. Hall pleaded guilty to unlawfully transporting a firearm and is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald A. Guzman on Nov. 18, 2015.
- David Lewisbey, of South Holland, served as the leader of the Indiana-to-Illinois gun trafficking ring. He was convicted at trial of dealing and transporting firearms. Lewisbey was sentenced to more than 16 years in prison.
- Maurice Strickland, of Chicago, lived in a residence in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood where the guns were sold to the cooperating source. He pleaded guilty to unlawfully transporting a firearm and was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
The sentence was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Jeffery Magee, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police assisted in the investigation, which was conducted with the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA).
The government is represented by Ms. Biesenthal and Mr. Parente.