CHICAGO — A federal jury has convicted a suburban Chicago man on firearm and drug charges for illegally possessing two loaded handguns and dealing heroin and crack cocaine.
Brian Stafford, 42, illegally possessed the guns and drugs in his vehicle and residence in Bellwood, Ill., on Nov. 2, 2016. A day earlier, Stafford sold 101 grams of heroin to an individual who, unbeknownst to Stafford, was cooperating with law enforcement.
After a week-long trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago, the jury on Friday found Stafford guilty of one count of possessing heroin and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute, one count of illegal possession of firearms by a previously convicted felon, and one count of possessing firearms in furtherance of drug-trafficking activities.
A separate jury in 2019 convicted Stafford of illegally possessing three assault rifles. All of the handguns and rifles illegally possessed by Stafford were linked to thefts from a cargo train that passed through Chicago in September 2016.
The convictions are punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in federal prison, and a maximum of life. U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman did not immediately set a sentencing date.
The convictions were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI. Substantial assistance was provided by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Cook County Sheriff’s Office; Evergreen Park, Ill., Police Department; and Bolingbrook, Ill., Police Department. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Saurish Appleby-Bhattacharjee and Alejandro Ortega.
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