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Press Release

Federal Jury Convicts Indiana Man of Bringing Guns Across the Border into Illinois and Illegally Selling Them on the Streets of Chicago

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

CHICAGO — An Indiana man has been convicted of unlawfully dealing firearms after purchasing guns from licensed dealers in Indiana and selling them to gang members on the West Side of Chicago.

In the fall of 2013 WILLIE LEE BILES JR. made multiple trips on a Megabus to Chicago from his home in Indianapolis, each time bringing with him a gym bag full of handguns.  Biles had legally purchased more than 30 firearms from licensed dealers in Indiana.

Once in Chicago, Biles would sit on the porch of a residence on the city’s West Side and sell firearms to individuals for two to three times the price that Biles had paid for them.  Biles never asked any of his customers for identification, and he failed to verify whether they could legally possess firearms.  At least one of his customers was a convicted felon who could not legally possess a firearm.

Seven of the firearms Biles sold were later recovered by law enforcement in the Chicagoland area.

The jury yesterday convicted Biles, 44, of willfully dealing firearms without a license.  The charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis scheduled a sentencing hearing for Nov. 16, 2016, at 10:30 a.m.

The convicted felon to whom Biles sold four guns was previously imprisoned in the case.  OTTO LEWELLEN, of Bellwood, pleaded guilty last year to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Lewellen admitted in a plea agreement that he purchased four firearms from Biles.  Authorities recovered two revolvers, but Lewellen said he sold the two other guns to a man he knew only as “Red.”  Officials have not been able to locate Red or the two guns.  Judge Ellis last year sentenced Lewellen to 18 months in prison.

The verdict 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 U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The investigation was conducted with the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA).  Substantial assistance was provided by the Illinois State Police, Chicago Police Department, Bellwood Police Department and ATF Indianapolis Field Division.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher V. Parente and Elizabeth R. Pozolo.

Updated May 26, 2016

Violent Crime