CROWN POINT — The 29-year-old man who allegedly arranged a gun sale Thursday in Gary that led to the shooting of an undercover ATF agent faces felony charges in Lake Criminal Court.
Leondre Smith, of Homewood, Illinois, was charged Friday in Lake Criminal Court with attempted unlawful transfer of a handgun, a level 5 felony, on allegations he arranged for a confidential informant to purchase firearms from Raymon Truitt II, an illegal firearm supplier in Gary, court records state.
The confidential informant and two undercover federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives met with Truitt, 28, and two of his associates about noon Thursday at 554 Kentucky St. in Gary.
The confidential informant and agents intended to purchase four guns from Truitt in a deal arranged by Smith, records state.
Instead, Truitt and his associates – Bernard Graham, 25, of Calumet City, and Blake King, 19, of Chicago – ambushed the buyers, shooting one of the agents in the chest and arm, records state. Truitt was subsequently killed by the agents in a shootout.
Smith was interviewed after the botched gun purchase by law enforcement. He said he did not know the robbery was going to take place, but admitted he knew the confidential informant was a convicted felon, who was not allowed to purchase or possess a firearm.
Smith said he knew the confidential informant for about 16 years. He did not know what the confidential informant was convicted of, but he knew he went to prison for at least three years.
Police note in court records the confidential informant was convicted of vehicle hijacking in Cook County, Illinois. He was sentenced Jan. 30, 2014, to seven years in prison.
Smith is being held at Lake County Jail on a $50,000 surety bond, court records state.
A formal court appearance is scheduled for June 20.
Smith is the third defendant charged in Thursday's shooting.
King and Graham were charged Friday in U.S. District Court with forcibly assaulting a special ATF agent, use of a deadly and dangerous weapon and infliction of bodily injury, and use and carry of a firearm during a crime of violence.
Both men are in federal custody. King is scheduled to appear Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond. Graham is scheduled to appear in the same court Friday.