Lisle man gets 16 years for selling guns to Chicago gang members

A Lisle man was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Wednesday for selling dozens of guns to Chicago gang members.

Walter Freeman, 36, of Lisle was sentenced in federal court in Chicago after pleading guilty last year to one count of knowingly and intentionally distributing a controlled substance and one count of knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to a news release.

"(Freeman's) possession and sale of at least 80 weapons directly contributed to the violence that our city faces," Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Levin said in the government's sentencing memorandum. "He has victimized the entire Chicago community."

In the written plea agreement, Freeman also admitted to selling approximately seven grams of crack cocaine per week to a regular group of customers from 2008 to 2013.

Freeman obtained the guns from co-defendant Timothy Vana of Forest Park in exchange for crack cocaine, and later sold them to people he knew to be members of Chicago gangs, according to the news release.

"Freeman obtained 40 guns from Vana between 1999 and 2001, and another 40 between 2010 and 2011. The guns included revolvers and semi-automatic weapons. Vana had stolen the guns from an avid firearms collector who resided at Vana's family's home in Bolingbrook," the release said.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives later recovered many of the weapons after they were used in shootings and other crimes, officials said. ATF agents were able to trace the serial number and find the guns had been purchased by the same owner, who lived in Vana's family's house. Further investigation revealed the drugs-for-guns arrangement between Vana and Freeman. Vana has pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of knowingly possessing a firearm that he had reasonable cause to believe was stolen. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.