masthead_37.jpg
Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

3 Fort Campbell Soldiers Charged In Scheme To Traffic Guns To Chicago

Three Fort Campbell soldiers are facing charges of buying and transferring nearly 100 guns to Chicago. Guns bought and handled by the men were later tied to shootings, some fatal, in Chicago, according to federal prosecutors.

The men, Demarcus Adams, 21; Jarius Brunson, 22; and Brandon Miller, 22; are enlisted members of the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Campbell, which houses the 101st Airborne Division. They were arrested Tuesday morning by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division.

Each of the three are facing charges of transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident; making false statements during the purchase of a firearm; wire fraud; money laundering, and other crimes.

According to court records, prosecutors requested the court detain Miller pending trial as they view him as a "significant danger to the community" and one that has very few ties to the Tennessee area. They said Miller poses "a significant flight risk if released."

Prosecutors said Miller "led a gun trafficking effort to purchase firearms in Middle Tennessee and illegally arm individuals involved in violent crimes and shootings in Chicago." They added Miller is also facing court martial proceedings through the military based on an alleged sexual assault he committed.

The criminal complaint against the three men was sealed as of Tuesday night. The Justice Department offered some details of the investigation that led police to Adams, Brunson, and Miller.

The investigation began after a mass shooting in Chicago on March 26. That day eight people were shot, one fatally, during a party in the Wrightwood neighborhood on the Southwest Side of Chicago, according to The Chicago Sun Times.

Five of the guns recovered from the scene were found to have been purchased by dealers in the Clarksville, Tenn. area, according to prosecutors. The main buyers of the guns were identified as Adams, Brunson, and Miller.

Investigators found that since September 2019, the three soldiers purchased 91 guns from multiple licensed gun dealers in Clarksville and four other cities in Kentucky. Most of those guns were purchased within the last five months and later sent associates of Miller in Chicago.

On April 28, investigators searched the Clarksville home of Miller and Adams. Forty-nine empty firearms cases were recovered. Those cases matched guns recovered by the Chicago Police Department at the scene of recent shootings and murders, prosecutors said.

The U.S. is just 18 weeks into 2021, and the country has experienced 194 mass shootings---about 10 a week, according to research by the Gun Violence Archive.

The country is also experiencing a record start to the year for gun sales, with first-time gun buyers fueling the surge out of fear from the pandemic and civil unrest.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.