CHICAGO (WLS) — When Chicago police found numerous guns at a mass shooting crime scene in the Wrightwood neighborhood in late March, it led authorities to U.S. Army soldiers running what they call a “gun pipeline” from Fort Campbell in Kentucky to Chicago.
Federal law enforcement authorities say the trio charged in the conspiracy purchased at least 90 guns which were sold and sent to Chicago. In federal court Friday afternoon, authorities revealed that the three soldiers charged were investing their gun profits to try to recruit other Army service members into the scheme.
A pop-up party in a storefront in memory of a victim of gun violence ended on March 26 with dozens of shots fired, leaving one dead and seven wounded. Police and federal firearms agents found guns on the scene that were traced by the ATF lab to recent purchases in Clarksville, Tenn., area gun stores. Authorities said they traced the purchases to three soldiers stationed at Fort Campbell on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, home of the famous 101 Airborne Division Screaming Eagles.
Brandon Miller, 22, is described as a leader of the conspiracy to funnel guns to Chicago, where authorities said he has connections. During a court hearing in Nashville, late Friday afternoon prosecutors revealed that they believe Miller, Demarcus Adams and Jarius Brunson used proceeds from dozens of illegal gun sales to recruit at least three additional soldiers into the scheme.
Authorities said in court that they continue to investigate how and if additional people in Clarksville area are involved. Federal and local authorities in Chicago told the I-Team their investigation into the Chicago end of the alleged gun pipeline and the Wrightwood mass shooting is ongoing.
The guns allegedly trafficked by the three soldiers charged were sold at a 60-percent markup; for $1,700 per pistol during sales to Chicago buyers, a federal agent testified in court Friday. Court documents allege the trio bought more than 90 firearms between September 2019 and April 2021, with the majority of the purchases taking place in the past five months. Court documents link five of the straw-purchased firearms to the March 26 mass shooting and serial numbers from additional gun boxes found during a search of Miller and Adams’ residence to other Chicago gun crimes.
It was also revealed during the court hearing that Miller is currently facing an Army court martial on sexual assault charges. Authorities said text messages between the soldiers and Chicago gun buyers back up the scheme and that two of the Army service members personally made trips to Chicago to deliver the illicit weapons.
Brunson’s attorney declined to comment to the I-Team. Adams and Miller’s attorneys did not respond to I-Team requests for comment.
It hasn’t been revealed who was actually buying the guns on the Chicago end of the deals or what connection there may be to the one man charged in the mass shooting case. He was wounded and found with a gun according to police.