Feds Get 24-Year Old Gun Runner

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office:


CHICAGO ― A south suburban man was sentenced to nearly 17 years in federal prison for buying hundreds of high-powered firearms at guns shows in Indiana and illegally transporting them to Chicago where he sold them without a federal firearms dealer license. The defendant, DAVID LEWISBEY, was sentenced late yesterday in U.S. District Court.

After a two-week trial last September, Lewisbey, 24, of South Holland, was convicted of dealing firearms without a federal license, two counts of illegally transporting firearms across state lines, and two counts interstate travel to sell guns without a license.

“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,” U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman said before imposing a 200-month sentence.

“During one of the deadliest years in Chicago’s history, the defendant was pumping numerous unregistered and untraceable firearms into the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago.

“The defendant ran his business on the side streets and back alleys of Chicago’s neighborhoods. No background checks, no receipts, no written record,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bethany Biesenthal and Christopher Parente argued in a sentencing memo.

Evidence at the trial showed that between January 2008 and September 2012, Lewisbey, who had no criminal record that disqualified him from buying firearms, routinely traveled to various gun shows in Indiana and purchased duffle bags full of guns that he brought back to Chicago.

A government witness testified that he personally observed Lewisbey buy more than 100 firearms, as well as dozens of high-capacity magazines, at Indiana gun shows.

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, 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.

Last month, Judge Guzman sentenced Tanksley, 29, of Chicago, to more than 11 years in prison, and CHARLES LEMLE, 28, of Chicago to 10 years in prison. MICHAEL HALL, 29, of Chicago, who cooperated with the government and testified against Lewsibey is awaiting sentencing. Tanksley, Lemle, and Hall each pleaded guilty to illegally possessing firearms as previously convicted felons.

Zachary Fardon

Zachary Fardon

Lewisbey’s sentencing was announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Carl Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Chicago Police Department, and the Illinois State Police assisted in the investigation, which was conducted with the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA).

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