Chicago Man Surrenders After Being Indicted in Alleged Conspiracy to Illegally Traffic Guns from Indiana to Chicago
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 24, 2014|
CHICAGO—A Chicago man self-surrendered to law enforcement authorities today on federal charges alleging that he conspired with others to buy at least 43 firearms in Indiana and illegally transport those firearms to Chicago for sale. The new defendant, WINSTON GERALDS, allegedly conspired with previous defendant David Lewisbey and others in the interstate gun trafficking conspiracy.
Geralds, 24, also known as “Worm,” was indicted on one count each of conspiracy and dealing firearms without a federal license, and two counts each of illegally transporting firearms across state lines and interstate travel to sell guns without a license. He pleaded not guilty to the charges after presenting himself with his attorney for arraignment in U.S. District Court. He was taken into federal custody and a detention hearing was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown in Federal Court.
Geralds was charged in a seven-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on May 28. A co-defendant, MAURICE STRICKLAND, 26, of Chicago, was charged with one count of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Strickland, also known as “Reece,” was arrested on June 9, pleaded not guilty, and remains detained in federal custody.
The indictment alleges that Geralds accompanied Lewisbey on multiple trips to Crown Point, Ind., and Indianapolis between April 21-23, 2012, and purchased firearms at gun shows and other venues. It adds they illegally brought the firearms to Chicago, where they sold no fewer than 43 guns to previous defendants, who then sold the guns to an individual who was cooperating with ATF agents. All of those guns were recovered by law enforcement.
Lewisbey, 24, of South Holland; Levaine Tanksley, 29, of Chicago; and Charles Lemle, 28, of Chicago, were previously convicted of various firearms offenses and sentenced. Michael Hall, 29, of Chicago, is awaiting sentencing.
Geralds allegedly accompanied Lewisbey and participated in each of the gun transactions on April 21-23, 2012, and conspired with him in illegally selling the firearms across the state line. At the time, Strickland lived in a residence in the 6800 block of South Langley Avenue where Tanksley sold some of the guns he bought from Lewisbey. Strickland was charged with illegally possessing a firearm on April 22, 2012, because of a previous felony conviction.
The indictment against Geralds and Strickland was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Carl Vasilko, Special Agent-in- Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chicago Police Department, and the Illinois State Police assisted in the investigation, which was conducted with the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA).
Conspiracy and dealing firearms without a federal license each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, while each count of illegally transporting firearms across state lines, and interstate travel to sell guns without a license carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The felon-in-possession count against Strickland carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Parente and Bethany Biesenthal.