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Press Release

Convicted Felon from Chicago Sentenced to More Than Five Years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing and Trafficking Two Dozen Handguns

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

CHICAGO — A convicted felon from Chicago has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for illegally possessing and trafficking two dozen handguns, most of which had been stolen from a shipment of firearms at a railyard on the South Side.

WARREN GATES possessed 24 stolen firearms, 17 of which he illegally purchased from co-defendants who had stolen approximately 111 firearms from a railroad car in Chicago in the early morning hours of April 12, 2015. Gates admitted purchasing the 17 stolen firearms for purposes of reselling them for a profit, and he sold eleven of them prior to his arrest. The stolen firearms were aboard a cargo train en route from a Ruger factory in New Hampshire to Spokane, Wash. The train was parked overnight on the South Side of Chicago when the co-defendants broke locks and seals on a train car and walked off with the guns.

Gates, 49, pleaded guilty last year to one count of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. U.S. District Judge John J. Tharp Jr. imposed the 63-month sentence Wednesday in federal court in Chicago.

The sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and George Lauder, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The Chicago Police Department and the Norfolk Southern Railroad Police Department provided valuable assistance.

“The defendant purchased these stolen firearms for the purpose of reselling them to those in our community who would be most interested in purchasing stolen, unregistered and untraceable firearms from an unlicensed firearms dealer,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Parente argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Those individuals who are willing to pay premiums for firearms on the black market are the individuals who cannot legally purchase firearms and those individuals who cause the most damage to this city by their possession of illegal firearms.”

There were approximately 111 firearms stolen from the cargo train. To date law enforcement has recovered 16 of those firearms at various locations and crime scenes in the Chicago area.

The government is represented by Mr. Parente.

Updated January 12, 2017

Firearms Offenses