Federal government ready to lay parallel charges to target illegal guns – NBC Chicago

Federal authorities in Chicago are targeting gun traffickers with a “strike force” unveiled earlier this year – and they say they are ready to replace local rulings with additional federal charges if they believe it is warranted.

“If you look at the ongoing violent crime in Chicago, we have a cycle of fire to disrupt,” said Kristen de Tineo, the special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Chicago.

In July, the Department of Justice and the ATF announced strike forces in Chicago and four other major metropolitan areas in the United States, promising enhanced and sustained coordination with police departments in each city to target trafficking. weapons in areas both where guns are purchased illegally and where they are ultimately used to commit crimes.

De Tineo noted that most of the illegal guns in Chicago come from dealers in Illinois and that most cases of trafficking are built against isolated individuals.

“If you think there are hundreds of guns pouring into a big truck or a bass drum, there aren’t,” de Tineo said. “Often it’s only one, two or five or six guns at a time that are diverted. “

Northern Illinois District Attorney John Lausch said violent crime had “always been a primary focus” of his office, but efforts to target gun cases at federal level had intensified in recent years as the violence in Chicago continued to draw the national population. Warning.

“I think we see our criminals in Chicago and our other big cities, frankly, more emboldened, and I think one of the reasons is, I think they don’t see the consequences of their actions, so they don’t. not feel the consequences, “he said. “First, I think they’re not afraid of getting caught. And then I think sometimes they’re not afraid of what happens to them after they get caught. And that’s why, you know, I still always speak, both in my office and outside, about how important it is to us to do our jobs.

Lausch said that although the gun laws of the Illinois states are in most cases “more powerful” than the corresponding federal laws, his office will continue to use its resources to investigate and prosecute crimes with the United States. firearms at the federal level.

“I think the additional resources that we can bring in, you know, the prosecutor’s time, the officer’s time, to improve these cases, to gather additional evidence and then really have the ability to apply for pre-trial detention, I think. ‘they can have an impact on disrupting the cycle of violence that, you know, sometimes we see, ”he said.

And amid the ongoing conversation about bail reform in Cook County, the efforts long criticized by the Chicago Police Superintendent. David Brown, Lausch said federal prosecutors have and will continue to lay parallel federal charges when they see fit.

“I mean, if someone is released on bail in a 26th Street case and we learn, we understand that he is a driver of violence, we will look into this case faster than before in order to try it out. and be able to bring it here, ”he said.

“If we think someone is at serious risk of absconding, or if we can show with clear and convincing evidence that they represent a danger to the community, we are going to want to remand them in custody,” Lausch continued. “And so there are cases where you will see an individual who has been arrested, and they have been released for whatever reason, in one of the counties. We will look into this case and if we think they pose a danger to the community and we think it is an appropriate federal case to carry, we will bring it.

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