Felon sold guns to undercover feds in Wicker Park: court doc

CHICAGO — Federal officials have charged a man with illegally selling guns to undercover agents from his Wicker Park apartment. It’s the second time in two months that the feds have filed charges after conducting undercover gun and drug investigations in the neighborhood.

The investigation began earlier this year after an informant, hoping to gain lenience in a pending case, told Cook County Sheriff’s Office investigators that Rene Vazquez sold drugs and firearms from his apartment in the 1800 block of West Division, according to a court filing. The informant also handed over Vazquez’s phone number.

An undercover sheriff’s office investigator called Vazquez to discuss narcotics and firearms transactions on May 7, the filing said. He allegedly agreed to meet them the next day.

On May 8, Vazquez texted two pictures of two guns to the investigator: a Rock Island 1911 and a Glock 22, officials said.

“Top is .45 Bottom G22 .40,” Vazquez explained in the text, according to the court filing.

That afternoon, the sheriff’s investigator and an undercover ATF agent went to Vazquez’s home to complete the deal.

Officials said Vazquez opened a safe in his apartment, revealing “multiple firearms.” He allegedly retrieved the Glock 22 and the other gun, handing each to the officers. 

When the undercover ATF agent pointed out that both of the guns were already loaded, Vazquez allegedly replied that he does not keep empty guns in his house. He told them that the other guns in the safe were for his personal use, but he might be selling one of them soon, the court filing said.

Vazquez allegedly offered to provide the agents with cocaine, but they declined, officials said. They did, however, leave with the two firearms after paying Vazquez $2,100.

He is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

In April, federal officials charged another Wicker Park resident with having “distribution quantities” of cocaine, fentanyl, and marijuana in his home, along with “at least a dozen firearms.” Hugo Pinzon, 34, is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. A federal complaint identifies the substance as cocaine.

Investigators executed a search warrant at Pinzon’s home in the 1500 block of North Western on April 4, allegedly finding 12 pounds of bulk cocaine, a money counter, a vacuum sealer, and assorted firearms and ammunition magazines.

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Tim Hecke is CWBChicago's managing partner. He started his career at KMOX, the legendary news radio station in St. Louis. From there, he moved on to work at stations in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York City. Tim went on to build syndicated radio news and content services that served every one of America's 100 largest radio markets. He became CWBChicago's managing partner in 2019. His email address is tim@cwbchicago.com