Chicago officials join Merrick Garland in Washington to announce gun conspiracy charges
A new indictment alleges that Chicago native Brandon Miller, a soldier at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, conspired with soldiers Jarius Brunson and Demarcus Adams to buy guns in Kentucky and Tennessee and supply Miller’s associates here.
Law enforcement officials from Chicago found themselves in the national spotlight Friday when they helped Attorney General Merrick Garland announce the disruption of an alleged illegal gun pipeline between U.S. Army soldiers and a Gangster Disciples faction here.
U.S. Attorney John Lausch and Kristen de Tineo, special agent in charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, joined Garland in Washington, D.C., as Garland explained to reporters how a deadly March 2021 mass shooting in his “hometown” of Chicago led to a newly unsealed federal indictment.
Eric Carter, first deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, also took part in Garland’s press conference.
The new indictment alleges that Chicago native Brandon Miller, a soldier at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, conspired with soldiers Jarius Brunson and Demarcus Adams to buy guns in Kentucky and Tennessee and supply Miller’s associates here, the Chicago Sun-Times previously reported.
Miller instructed Brunson and Adams to buy guns and give them to him to sell to his Chicago contacts. They bought at least 90 guns, officials said. The soldiers’ involvement in the alleged conspiracy was made public in charges filed last year. The new indictment leveled charges against alleged Gangster Disciples street gang members in Chicago.
Guns the soldiers sold in Chicago were used in the March 26, 2021, mass shooting at a party in the 2500 block of West 79th Street that left one man dead and seven wounded.
Another was used in the killing of Gregory Jackson III on Jan. 28, 2021, at a barbershop in the 1900 block of South State Street, court records show. Jackson was an associate of the popular rapper G Herbo.
During his press conference Friday, Garland cited a federal effort to combat gun violence launched in key areas of the country last year, including Chicago. A crucial goal was to link law enforcement in cities like Chicago, where the violence occurs, with counterparts in regions where guns first begin to make their way into the hands of criminals.
The case highlighted Friday involved law enforcement from Chicago, Tennessee and Iowa, among other agencies.
“Gun violence can be a problem that is too big for any one community, any one city or any one agency to solve,” Garland said Friday. “That is why our approach to disrupting gun violence and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals rests on the kind of coordination that you see here today.”
Lausch said cases like the one announced Friday “have a tremendous impact” not only on those who are charged but on other gang members.
“What they see is that they will be held accountable,” Lausch said.
De Tineo touted the “strong and effective partnerships” that helped uncover the alleged gun pipeline.
“This is not just a job to us,” de Tineo said. “It is a calling to make our communities safer, better and stronger.”
Carter said the operation “has direct ties to some of our most pressing public safety concerns.”
“What this demonstrates is how the fight to stop gun trafficking, and decrease violence, is a national issue,” he said.
Contributing: Frank Main