A suburban man supported his drug habit by supplying crooks in Chicago and the suburbs with more than 40 stolen guns — some of which were then used in crimes including a shooting, officials say.
Timothy Vana, 53, of southwest suburban Bolingbrook, allegedly traded the guns for crack cocaine in 2010 and 2011.
Walter Freeman, who made those deals with Vana, then sold the guns to Kawami Williams, a drug dealer, authorities said. Freeman and Williams are both Gangster Disciples, officials said. Freeman and Vana were charged in an indictment unsealed late Thursday.
The stolen guns were recovered in 17 crimes, including a nonfatal shooting in Chicago, authorities said.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation along with the state police and the Cook County sheriff’s office. The case involved undercover officers and secret recordings.
Vana previously was sentenced to four years in prison for forgery and possession of a stolen firearm. He was convicted of those charges in 2001 in Will County, records show.
In that case, he stole dozens of guns from a relative, officials said.
In February, Freeman pleaded guilty to separate charges of selling drugs and guns. He told authorities he was a crack dealer between 2008 and 2012 when he was arrested. He’s awaiting sentencing. After he was arrested, he cooperated against Vana.
In 2012, Williams pleaded guilty to a drug charge and was sentenced to three years in prison. Williams told authorities he started selling drugs and guns in early 2011 after his auto-service shop went out of business following the 2009 economic downtown, court records show. He told officials he knew “a lot of people on the street” interested in buying weapons because he was a former gang member who maintained his gang relationships.
Williams and Freeman have both pleaded guilty to federal gun and drug charges. In 2012, Williams was sentenced to three years in prison. Freeman is awaiting sentencing.