Thursday, September 2, 2010
Man punished for gun trafficking
A 27-year-old Chicago man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for trafficking guns from Mississippi to Illinois, including one weapon used in the slaying of Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham IV.
Quawi Gates was sentenced Wednesday of last week by Judge Allen Pepper in the Northern Judicial District of Mississippi in Greenville. The former Englewood, Ill., resident pleaded in January to aiding and abetting in making of false records for a firearms dealer.
He was convicted of recruiting other students at Rust College in Holly Springs to buy guns in the state. Authorities say the guns were taken to Chicago and ended up with gang members.
Acting U.S. Attorney William C. Martin said in a news release Thursday that one of the guns was used in the May 19 slaying of Wortham, who was off-duty at the time.
Wortham’s supervisor, Cmdr. Keith Calloway, traveled to Mississippi to testify against Gates. He said it was important to be there for his late friend and colleague.
Investigators say Gates paid at least four other young people with clean records to buy the weapons for him in Mississippi. Gates then sold the weapons to Chicago street gang members, who investigators say terrorized his own Englewood neighborhood.
Though Gates wasn’t charged in Wortham’s death, the slain officer’s sister holds him partly accountable.
“I think that 10 years isn’t enough,” Sandra Wortham told reporters in Chicago. “I think the individual who bought and sold these guns to people who are in Chicago, terrorizing these communities, are just as guilty as the people who were out there that night.”
Two men have been charged with Wortham’s murder, as well as attempted armed robbery. Police say they were after Wortham’s brand-new motorcycle.
The officer had just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq.
CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli in Chicago and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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