CHICAGO — Two Chicago cousins have been charged by federal prosecutors with selling guns on the South Side, officials said.
Benjamin Vasquez Jr. 26, was arrested Friday and charged with possessing a gun with an altered, removed or obliterated serial number, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
Over a four-month period, Vasquez illegally sold 16 guns, including a sawed-off shotgun and an AK-47 rifle, according to criminal complaints and affidavits filed in federal court in Chicago.
If convicted, Vasquez could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. His attorney, Marilyn Miller, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
One of those sales — involving a .22-caliber pistol — occurred in a New City home on Feb. 21. The buyer secretly recorded the transactions and is cooperating with law enforcement, according to court records.
Vasquez is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, officials said. His attorney, Sergio Rodriguez, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jorge Vasquez, 27, a felon, is charged with illegally possessing a gun. The two men are cousins, officials said.
In February, Jorge Vasquez sold a rifle in a West Englewood alley for $1,000, according to court records. The buyer in that transaction was also cooperating with law enforcement.
Jorge Vasquez was arrested last month and is in federal custody. His next court date has not been scheduled, officials said.
If convicted, Jorge Vasquez could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel repeatedly has asked Trump administration officials to step up the number of federal prosecutions of gun crimes in Chicago as officials struggle to turn back the surge of violence that swept the city in 2016 and has shown no sign of abating.