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Chicago cousins facing federal charges for dealing guns on South Side

Sun-Times file photo

Two Chicago cousins who allegedly dealt guns, including a sawed-off shotgun and AK-47 rifle, on the South Side are facing federal firearms charges.

Benjamin Vasquez Jr., 26, faces one count of possessing a firearm with an altered, removed or obliterated serial number, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. His cousin, 27-year-old Jorge Vasquez, faces one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Over a four-month period earlier this year, Benjamin Vasquez illegally sold 16 firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun and AK-47 rifle, according to federal prosecutors. His buyer was cooperating with law enforcement and secretly recorded the transactions.

One of the deals happened in a home in the New City neighborhood on Feb. 21 and involved the sale of a .22-caliber pistol, according to prosecutors.

His cousin, Jorge Vasquez, is accused of selling a rifle to someone cooperating with law enforcement in an alley in the West Englewood neighborhood on Feb. 13, according to prosecutors. Jorge Vasquez made $1,000 from the deal.

Benjamin Vasquez was arrested Friday, prosecutors said. His preliminary hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole.

Jorge Vasquez was arrested last month and remains in federal custody, according to prosecutors.