3 U.S. Soldiers Charged in Trafficking Guns to Chicago; Some Linked to Mass Shooting

Three currently enlisted U.S. Army soldiers were charged with illegally purchasing dozens of guns and trafficking them into Chicago—including some linked to a mass shooting in the city.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Middle District of Tennessee, the three soldiers identified as Demarcus Adams, 21; Jarius Brunson, 22; and Brandon Miller, 22, were all stationed at the Fort Campbell military installation in Clarksville, Tennessee.

Lt. Col. Kari McEwen, 101st Airborne Division spokesperson, confirmed to Newsweek that the three men identified in the complaint were stationed at Fort Campbell.

"We will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities in this investigation," McEwen told Newsweek.

All three of the men were arrested on Tuesday. According to a criminal complaint, they were all charged with transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident; making false statements during the purchase of a firearm; engaging in the business without a firearms license; wire fraud; money laundering; and conspiracy to commit Title 18 offenses.

The news release stated that the investigation into the soldiers began on March 26, 2021, following a mass shooting incident that occurred at a party in the 2500 block of West 79th Street on Chicago's Southwest Side.

After the shooting, which left eight injured and one dead, investigators with the Chicago Police Department recovered multiple weapons, including five firearms that were purchased from Federal Firearms Licensed (FFL) dealers located in the Clarksville area.

"Further investigation identified Adams, Brunson and Miller as the majority purchasers of these firearms," the news release read. It added that a broader investigation of the firearm transaction records discovered that dating back to September 2019, the three soldiers purchased 91 firearms from numerous FFLs located in areas including Clarksville; Oak Grove, Kentucky; Hopkinsville, Kentucky; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and Paducah, Kentucky.

Fort Campbell
A banner bearing the Screaming Eagle insignia of the 101st Airborne Division hangs in a hangar at Campbell Army Airfield March 21, 2014 in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Luke Sharrett/Getty

"The criminal complaint also alleges that after the firearms were purchased, Miller would provide them to individuals he was associated with in Chicago," the release said.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the criminal complaint detailed alleged phone conversations between the three soldiers about purchasing firearms. According to the complaint, Brunson sent Miller several photographs of two weapons, and the two discussed prices for them.

The complaint also alleged that through searches of Miller's phone, agents were able to discover messages between him and numbers with Chicago area codes in which the purchase of the firearms was discussed, according to the Tribune.

Following the investigation, a federal search warrant was conducted at Miller and Adam's residences on April 28 in Clarksville. During the search, 49 empty firearm cases were recovered, including several that matched the same firearms recovered by the Chicago Police Department "at the scene of recent shootings and homicides."

If convicted, the three men could face up to 20 years in prison, the news release read.

In an email sent to Newsweek, Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee wrote: "We are all aware of the alarming level of violent crime in major cities across America and we are certainly aware of the gun violence that has racked the City of Chicago for quite some time."

"The Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney Offices across the nation remain well engaged with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners and we are all working very hard to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are committed to using them to commit violent acts. The allegations against the three soldiers charged yesterday are very disturbing and we will aggressively pursue these charges as the investigation continues."