Man sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for illegally possessing guns and drugs in Chicago suburb


Date: June 20, 2023


CHICAGO — A man has been sentenced to nearly six years in federal prison for illegally possessing two loaded handguns and fentanyl-laced heroin in a Chicago suburb.

Jarien Smith illegally possessed the guns and drugs on Jan. 2, 2019, in a home in Westchester, Ill. Smith resided in Wheaton, Ill., but used the Westchester residence as a "stash house" to store illegal narcotics that he supplied to other drug traffickers. Law enforcement searched the Westchester residence and discovered Smith in possession of the two guns, the fentanyl-laced heroin, and various items used to cut, weigh, and package narcotics. One of the guns was fully automatic and equipped with a 50-round, high-capacity drum magazine, while the other gun was equipped with laser sight and flashlight attachments to improve accuracy when firing at a target.

A law enforcement search of Smith's primary residence in Wheaton, Ill., turned up nine cellphones, body armor, and a Rolex watch valued at $85,000.

Smith had previously been convicted of a felony in state court and was not legally allowed to possess a firearm.

Smith pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal firearm and drug charges. U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed a 70-month prison sentence Thursday after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by Morris Pasqual, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Sheila G. Lyons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Substantial assistance was provided by the IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Police Department, U.S. Secret Service, Illinois State Police, and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Misty N. Wright and Christine M. O'Neill represented the government.

The investigation was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces operation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles drug trafficking organizations and other criminal networks that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local enforcement agencies.

The Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force also participated in the investigation. HIDTA enhances and coordinates America's drug-control efforts among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in order to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences.

Holding illegal firearm possessors and drug traffickers accountable through federal prosecution is a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods, the Department of Justice's violent crime reduction strategy. The U.S. Attorney's Office and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues in the Northern District of Illinois, particularly firearm and drug offenses.