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Press Release

Chicago Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Brokering the Sale of More Than 75 Guns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Illinois

CHICAGO — A convicted felon from Chicago has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for illegally brokering the sale of more than 75 guns.

JOHN THOMAS illegally brokered at least 23 transactions involving the total sale of 77 guns, including rifles, shotguns and handguns. Some of the guns had obliterated serial numbers or were previously reported stolen. The case against Thomas arose out of a larger federal investigation that has removed more than 100 illegal guns from the streets of Chicago. The federal probe involved controlled firearm sales to cooperating individuals.

Thomas, 33, also known as “Batman,” pleaded guilty earlier this year to two counts of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon, and one count of dealing firearms without a license. U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood on Friday imposed the 84-month sentence in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Celinez Nunez, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Thomas admitted in a plea agreement that he either obtained the firearms himself and then sold them to individuals, or he arranged for the owner of the firearms to sell the guns in exchange for a fee to Thomas for setting up the transaction. Unbeknownst to Thomas, the individuals who purported to purchase the guns were cooperating with law enforcement.

Thomas was previously convicted of a felony and was not legally authorized to possess any firearms.

One of the sales occurred on July 23, 2014, when Thomas arranged a meeting between a man identified in court records as Individual A, along with JAMEL DAVIS and a cooperating individual. The transaction, which took place in Davis’ garage in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, involved the sale of two .38-caliber revolvers. A federal jury last year convicted Davis of illegal possession of a firearm by a felon, and he was sentenced to two years in prison.

Updated August 15, 2017

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime