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Press Release

Two Individuals Charged in Federal Court With Illegally Possessing Loaded Handguns in Downtown Chicago

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

CHICAGO — Two individuals have been charged with federal firearm offenses for allegedly illegally possessing loaded handguns in downtown Chicago this past weekend.

BRANDON PEGUES, 28, of Riverdale, and AMBER L. PELTZER, 28, of Lansing, are each charged with one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Pegues and Peltzer were previously convicted of criminal felonies and were not lawfully allowed to possess a firearm.  Initial court appearances in U.S. District Court in Chicago have not yet been scheduled.

The federal charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Kristen deTineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in bringing these charges.  The government is represented in the Pegues case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. McCrobie, and in the Peltzer case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Albert Berry.

“We are working with the Chicago Police Department and our federal and state law enforcement partners to arrest and prosecute anyone involved in violence and destruction in Chicago,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch.  “We will continue our efforts to apprehend and charge illegal gun offenders and others engaging in violent crime.”

Holding gun offenders accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of Project Guardian and Project Safe Neighborhoods – the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction strategies.  Project Guardian focuses specifically on investigating, prosecuting, and preventing gun crimes, and it emphasizes the importance of using modern technologies to promote gun crime intelligence.  In the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the Guardian and PSN programs to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, including by prosecuting individuals who illegally possess firearms.

Pegues and Peltzer were arrested separately early Sunday morning by Chicago Police Officers who were investigating reports of various malfeasances and unrest in the downtown area of the city.  A city of Chicago curfew took effect at 9:00 p.m. Saturday, and the defendants were arrested nearly four hours later.

According to the charges, Pegues was arrested near the 800 block of South Federal Street after officers observed a loaded semiautomatic handgun fall from his waistband.  Peltzer was arrested near the 1600 block of South Michigan Avenue after officers observed her peering out of a bar that had its glass front door shattered, the complaint states.  She was later taken into custody while in possession of a loaded handgun, the complaint states.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is punishable by up to ten years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated June 2, 2020

Project Guardian
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime