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Anatomy of gun sale: ‘Really easy’ in Indiana, gang member boasted

Charles Golden  alleged member Killing Crew who is awaiting sentencing federal drug charges.

Charles Golden, alleged member of the Killing Crew who is awaiting sentencing on federal drug charges.

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Updated: May 15, 2013 6:36AM

When the Killing Crew needed guns, it turned to Indiana.

“Guns are really easy to get in Indiana,” reputed crew member Charles Golden boasted to police after he was caught with two handguns in 2006.

Golden is now facing sentencing in a federal drug case. In an effort to boost his prison time, prosecutors have provided the judge with the anatomy of a gun purchase that Golden and crew leader Rashod “Fat Man” Bethany carried out in 2006.

Bethany has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in a separate drug case investigated by the Chicago Police Department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

He pleaded guilty to running crack houses, but prosecutors also presented evidence at his sentencing last month that he was a suspect in at least five murders and had terrorized his Roseland neighborhood. He hasn’t been charged in those killings.

According to prosecutors, Golden and Bethany plotted to kill those responsible for the 2006 shooting of Shannon Evans, a Killing Crew member who survived and was later sent to prison for murder.

The plot began with Golden and Bethany launching their own investigation into Evans’ shooting, authorities said. They interviewed witnesses to Evans’ shooting to identify the gunmen.

Once they learned the names of the targets, Bethany told Golden to buy two handguns from a friend in Indiana, prosecutors said.

According to wiretapped conversations, Bethany allegedly provided Golden with $2,000 to buy the guns.

In a written statement to police, Golden later admitted he called a friend in Indiana to get the guns. Golden said his friend could “get them pretty easily.”

Only a driver’s license is needed to buy a gun in Indiana, while, in Illinois, a firearm owner’s identification card is required.

Also, gun laws are prosecuted more seriously in Indiana, making Chicago -- where punishment is less certain -- a more desirable place to traffic firearms, a federal source said.

Golden’s friend, who had a criminal record, approached someone with a clean record who bought a 9mm Smith & Wesson and a .45-caliber Glock from a pawn shop in Indiana, officials said.

Then, he rode in the backseat of a car driven by a girlfriend and brought the guns to Golden’s home on the Far South Side, authorities said. The Chicago Sun-Times isn’t identifying the friend because he wasn’t charged.

The police raided Golden’s home in May 2006. He sneaked out a window and was spotted stashing the guns and a bag of crack cocaine in a drain pipe, officials said.

Golden was charged with armed violence as a result of the gun seizure, convicted and served 4½ years in state prison.

“This investigation illustrates ATF’s ongoing commitment to combating firearms trafficking by stemming the flow of illegal guns into the city and ultimately into the hands of violent criminals,” ATF spokesman Tom Ahern said.

The federal case against Golden stems from an April 25, 2006, drug deal. He has pleaded guilty to the federal drug charge.

In court papers, Golden’s attorney, Steven Saltzman, objected to the prosecution’s portrayal of his client as a member of the Killing Crew. Saltzman said Golden bought the guns for his own protection, not as part of a plot to seek revenge for a wounded member of the Killing Crew.

Golden, 32, should be sentenced to just five years in prison on the federal drug charge, Saltzman said.

Prosecutors, though, want Golden sent to prison for at least 15 years. His sentencing is set for next month.

Prosecutors said Golden is a dangerous man who previously served a six-year prison term for a shooting. In one court filing, prosecutors included a police report in which Chicago officers described Golden as a “viable suspect in several of the murders” in the Killing Crew investigation.

“The violent and drug-trafficking activities of Golden and his fellow gang members ravaged the South Side neighborhood where they operated,” prosecutors said. “Golden is a menace to the citizens of the Northern District of Illinois.”

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