Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MIGUEL “Mike” ECHEVARRIA arrested for violating federal firearms laws

Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office

of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was joined today by Gary Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Investigations, in announcing the arrest of a Cook County Correctional Officer for violating federal firearms laws.

MIGUEL “Mike” ECHEVARRIA, age 44, of West Lyndale Street in Chicago, was arrested outside his residence earlier today, without incident, by FBI and ICE Special Agents. ECHEVARRIA was charged last week in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, which was unsealed today, with one count of making a false statement on a federal firearms purchase application, which is a felony offense.

According to the complaint, the investigation leading to the charges announced today began in March of 2008, when an individual identified only as a cooperating witness (CW) indicated that he had illegally purchased a handgun from ECHEVARRIA, who he knew to be a Cook County Correctional Officer. In January of 2009, the CW accompanied ECHEVARRIA to a suburban gun store, where ECHEVARRIA purchased an AR -15 rifle for the CW.

After completing the “straw purchase” of the AR-15 rifle, the CW told ECHEVARRIA that he also wanted to purchase an Uzi assault rifle, equipped with a silencer. Two weeks later, the CW again accompanied ECHEVARRIA to a suburban gun store where ECHEVARRIA purchased for the CW, an Uzi assault rifle equipped with a laser sight. According to the complaint, ECHEVARRIA was paid $3000 for the assault rifle and an additional $300 for making the purchase. Subsequent investigation by the FBI revealed that ECHEVARRIA identified himself as the actual buyer of the weapon on federal forms required for the purchase of the weapon, when in fact he is alleged to have purchased the weapon for the CW.

ECHEVARRIA appeared this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Chicago before Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown, at which time he was formally charged. ECHEVARRIA was released on a secured bond, pending his next scheduled court appearance. If convicted of the charges filed against him, ECHEVARRIA faces a possible sentence of up to five (5) years in prison.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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