A sheriff’s department in Illinois is reportedly seizing guns from crime scenes throughout the state and then illegally selling them to gun stores for trade. The Coles County Sheriff’s Department reportedly exchanged 11 pistols, shotguns and rifles to a local arms dealer for two assault rifles. The weapons were acquired through searches, seizures and forfeitures.
Although the department’s operating procedures don’t have any rules against doing this, it’s illegal because it involves seizing private property and then selling it for personal benefit. A spokesperson for the state police department also confirmed that the guns should have either been returned to the owners, turned over to state police or destroyed.
“Once the case is adjudicated on a recovery or seizure of a firearm, a court decision will determine if the firearm will be returned to the owner, or a court order will be requested for destruction of the weapon,” said Monica Bond in a statement. “Weapons that have been confiscated as a result of having been abandoned or illegally possessed may be transferred to the Department of State Police for use by the crime laboratory system, for training purposes, or for any other application as deemed appropriate by the Department.”
Deputy Kerry Whitley refused to comment about the illegal gun trades because he felt that “this is all political,” while Sheriff Darrell Cox also declined to comment.