Federal agents arrested four men and searched for a fifth in Mississippi on Wednesday on charges of illegally buying guns there and bringing them to Chicago, where street gangs are eager to own high-powered firearms.
Federal agents arrested four men and searched for a fifth in Mississippi on Wednesday on charges of illegally buying guns there and bringing them to Chicago, where street gangs are eager to own high-powered firearms. A sixth man who lives in Chicago was also charged in a freshly unsealed indictment in which federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents described the alleged interstate gun-running operation. The ATF has put a high priority on the flow of guns to Chicago’s warring street gangs from Mississippi — the No. 3 source of the 10,000 or more illegal firearms found in the city annually after Illinois itself and No. 2 Indiana, officials said. All six were charged in a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Chicago with conspiracy to trade in firearms whose serial numbers had been obliterated in an unsuccessful effort to prevent ATF agents from gathering evidence. Verdeceus Dorsey, 25, and Quandrum Ross, 31, both of Shaw, Miss.; James Wadlington, 30, of Cleveland, Miss., and Willie Walls, 30, of Ridgeland, Miss., were arrested in Mississippi and appeared in U.S. District Court in Greenville. They would be brought to Chicago to answer the charges, officials said. ATF agents searched for a fifth defendant, Kevierre Weatherspoon, 31, of Cleveland who if captured would also be brought to Chicago, federal officials said. Marlan Griggley, 31, of Chicago was also charged, but was not arrested and was summoned to appear in federal court and answer the charges later, officials said. Federal prosecutors said the names of the attorneys for the six defendants were unknown. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Griggley traveled to Mississippi from Chicago in December 2005 with an unnamed confidential witness and $3,000 provided by ATF, according to an affidavit filed by an ATF agent in federal court. They allegedly purchased eight guns illegally. The others charged in the case allegedly bought the guns in Mississippi. Griggley and the confidential witness were under surveillance on their way back to Chicago but were stopped by an Illinois State Police trooper and arrested after he found several alleged violations. The charges were delayed while witnesses worked on other cases, ATF officials said. AP ______ Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.