CHICAGO | A South Holland man received nearly 17 years in federal prison Thursday for illegally purchasing hundreds of high-powered firearms at Indiana gun shows and selling them without a federal firearms dealer license on the streets of Chicago.
The gun shows were in Crown Point, LaPorte, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.
Following a two-week trial in U.S. District Court in September, David Lewisbey, 24, was convicted of dealing firearms without a federal license, two counts of illegally transporting firearms across state lines and two counts of interstate travel to sell guns without a license, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press statement.
“This case is a perfect example of where the guns come from ... and into the hands of gangbangers who then shoot them and kill and wound people,” said U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Guzman prior to sentencing Lewisbey.
“During one of the deadliest years in Chicago history, the defendant was pumping numerous unregistered and untraceable firearms into the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago," said Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bethany Biesenthal and Christopher Parente in a sentencing memorandum. "The defendant ran his business on the side streets and back alleys of Chicago’s neighborhoods. No background checks, no receipts, no written record.”
During just one 48-hour period, on April 22-23, 2012, Lewisbey bought 43 guns in Indiana and brought them to Chicago, where he delivered them to co-defendant Levaine Tanksley, 28, of Chicago, who with two other co-defendants, sold them to an individual who was cooperating with ATF agents. All of those guns were recovered by law enforcement.
Between January 2008 and September 2012, Lewisbey routinely traveled to gun shows in Indiana and purchased duffel bags full of guns he took back to Chicago, according to a government witness. The witness testified Lewisbey bought more than 100 firearms as well as dozens of high-capacity magazines at Indiana gun shows.
Last month, Guzman sentenced Tanksley to more than 11 years in prison, and co-defendant Charles Lemle, 28, of Chicago, to 10 years in prison, after pleading guilty to illegally possessing firearms as previously convicted felons.
Michael Hall, 29, of Chicago, who cooperated with the government and testified against Lewisbey, is awaiting sentencing.