Chicago man sentenced to more than six years for illegal gun sales

A Chicago man will spend more than six years in prison after pleading guilty to selling guns without a license.

Jymil Campbell, 31, admitted in August he illegally sold 13 firearms to two confidential informants working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to a plea agreement filed in the Northern District of Illinois, the informants bought multiple 9mm handguns and several rifles — including  a Norinco model SKS 7.62mm — for $8,700 over a nine month period beginning in January 2016. The informants told Campbell they planned to use the guns for protection while selling drugs.

“No illegal sales of any firearms – especially in this time and place – should be accepted, let alone 13,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Devlin N. Su argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum filed in November. “Chicagoans are extremely fortunate that the buyers of the weapons turned out to be working for law enforcement, because any willingness to inject guns onto the streets fuels the violence.”

Campbell also pleaded guilty to one count of illegal possession. According to court documents, a Cook County Circuit Court convicted Campbell for home invasion and armed robbery in 2005.

The 78 month sentence falls short of the prosecution’s recommended punishment of 87-108 months in prison. Defense attorneys argued Campbell’s admittance of guilt showed remorse for his crimes.

Chicago law enforcement has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years after a spate of officer-involved shootings and a skyrocketing murder rate.

Arrests declined in the city 24 percent between 2015 and 2016, according to the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, murder rates ballooned, accounting for nearly one quarter of the nationwide increase in homicides in 2016. The department said more murders occurred in Chicago that year than in New York and Los Angeles combined, despite a population of just one-fifth of the size of both cities.

Before stepping down in November, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent five additional violent crimes prosecutors to join U.S. Attorney John Lausch in establishing a Gun Crimes Prosecution Team with operations focused on the Northern District of Illinois.

The ATF likewise assigned five “violent crime coordinators” to Lausch’s Project Safe Neighborhoods team who will assist in daily reviews of firearm arrests and seizures.

The two teams join the city’s Crime Gun Strike Force, a permanent coalition of federal, state and local investigators and researchers dedicated to capturing and prosecuting Chicago’s most dangerous offenders. In the nearly two years since Sessions implemented the strike force, ATF firearm arrests increased nearly 25 percent and seizures and recoveries spiked 46 percent. The Chicago Police Department boosted its own seizures by more than 11 percent and violent crime in all four police districts working with the strike force declined double digits — including a 49 percent decrease in murders in the Seventh District and a 37 percent decrease in shootings in the Ninth District.

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