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Feds move to keep 44 guns taken from Madison man during probe of Chicago cop’s death

June 19, 2018 GMT

Federal prosecutors on Monday filed documents to keep 44 guns authorities took in February from a Madison man during an investigation into illegal firearms sales from his Far East Side home, including a gun sale connected to the shooting death of a Chicago police commander.

The guns were seized on Feb. 16 when agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives executed a search warrant at a home in the 4500 block of Martha Lane after tracing the source of a Glock Model 26 that was used to kill Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer on Feb. 13.

The man whose home was searched, whose name appears in an affidavit filed by ATF Agent Michael Klemundt, is not being named by the Wisconsin State Journal because he has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

But the affidavit makes it clear that federal officials have been investigating the man since 2015 as the source of firearms found in the possession of criminals in Madison and Milwaukee.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim O’Shea, who signed the complaint seeking the forfeiture of the 44 firearms, said he could not comment on the matter or say whether the man would be charged with a crime.

According to Klemundt’s affidavit:

In June 2015, Milwaukee police executed a search warrant at the home of a felon and found a handgun that was traced to the Madison man, who had bought the gun from a federally licensed firearm dealer. The felon had gotten the gun one day after the Madison man bought it from the dealer.

In October 2015, ATF conducted a compliance check on the firearms dealer and found that the Madison man had purchased 41 guns from the dealer over a one-year period, structuring the purchases so that they occurred every six days, avoiding federal requirements to report multiple handgun sales. A licensed firearm dealer must tell ATF if two or more firearms are bought by the same person within a five-day period.

The 68-year-old Madison man, interviewed by ATF agents at his home in December 2015, said he receives $21,000 per year in Social Security and disability benefits, spends about $2,000 per month buying guns and buys from 30 to 40 guns per year. He had records of purchase transactions, he told ATF, but not a record of the June 2015 transaction.

The man was served with a warning by ATF, ordering him to stop selling firearms until he received a federal firearms license.

But in September 2017, Madison police recovered a handgun during a drug investigation and found that it had been purchased from the Madison man just two weeks before police recovered it.

Klemundt wrote that by checking ATF’s E-Trace system in November, he found that between 2004 and 2017, 11 other guns recovered during police investigations were traced to the Madison man, who was the original purchaser of those guns. Klemundt later made an undercover purchase of a handgun from the man after finding the man had listed guns for sale on a firearms website.

After the Chicago officer, Bauer, was killed, an ATF trace of the gun that killed him showed that the gun had been purchased by a man in December 2011, and when interviewed, that man said he sold it in 2015 to the Madison man. When ATF asked the Madison man about the gun on Feb. 14, 2018, he said that within a month or two of buying the gun he sold it to his brother, who traded it back to him in April 2017.

About a month later, the man said, he sold the gun to someone who frequently buys guns from him. He also showed ATF agents at least eight ledgers detailing guns that he has sold, most recently in December. Of the gun sales, the man told the ATF agents, “This is like a sickness.”

When ATF agents executed the search warrant at the Martha Lane home on Feb. 16, they seized 12 notebooks containing transactions, business cards and notes that contain financial records, along with the 44 handguns and rifles.