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Press Release

Suburban Chicago Man Charged in Federal Court with Trafficking More than 35 Firearms

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

CHICAGO — A suburban Chicago man has been arrested on federal firearm charges for allegedly trafficking more than 35 guns, including “ghost guns,” machine guns, and rifles.

ARSHAD ZAYED, 38, of Orland Hills, Ill., is charged with willfully dealing firearms without a license and illegally possessing and transferring a machine gun.  Zayed was arrested this morning and made an initial appearance this afternoon in federal court in Chicago.  A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday at 2:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Beth W. Jantz. 

The charges and arrest were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department; and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago.  The Illinois State Police provided valuable assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jimmy L. Arce, Patrick Mott, and Tiffany Ardam.

According to a criminal complaint unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago, Zayed sold approximately 36 firearms on seven occasions this year and last year.  Many of the transactions occurred in a car wash that Zayed managed in Matteson, Ill., the complaint states.  Several of the firearms were considered “ghost guns” because they contained no identifiable serial number and were manufactured from parts collected from various sources.  Some of the firearms, including some of the ghost guns, were machine guns capable of automatically firing more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger, the charges allege.  Unbeknownst to Zayed, the high-ranking Chicago gang member to whom he sold the guns was cooperating with law enforcement, the complaint states.

Disrupting illegal firearms trafficking is a centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s cross-jurisdictional strike force aimed at reducing gun violence.  As part of the Chicago firearms trafficking strike force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office collaborates with the FBI, ATF, CPD, and other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in the Northern District of Illinois and across the country to help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms and identify patterns, leads, and potential suspects in violent gun crimes.

Holding firearm offenders accountable through federal prosecution is also a focus of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) – the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategy.  In the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  The unlawful possession and transfer charge is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison, while the unlawful dealing charge carries a maximum sentence of five years.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated July 27, 2022

Zayed complaint   [PDF, ]
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses