EDGAR CO - Many of you may be aware of the federal gun running scandal that has become known as Fast and Furious. A federal operation where our own government has permitted the illegal sale and transportation of weapons across our borders in the hands of criminals.
One such weapon has been positively traced to the killing of US Border Agent Brian A. Terry. Who is responsible for his death, the shooter or the US Government who allowed the weapon to be sold and transported across our border? Many are now arguing our government is responsible and I have to agree with them. Had they followed the law that border agent may very well be alive today. The challenge in that case is the number of people involved and the ongoing stone walling in an effort to deflect responsibility. That might work on a grand scale but I don’t think so on a local county level, do you?
Who will be responsible for a citizen being killed by guns sold outside the scope of the law by past sheriffs? Karl Farnham, Tim Crippes, and former Chief Deputy Shane St. Clair have all been involved, in what appears to be the illegal sale of seized weapons right out of our local Edgar County Sheriff’s office. And of course this story includes the now famous “Deputy Dee” Burgin as the tip we received was from a very close friend of Dee’s that has seen the purchased weapons first hand. The tipster reported that Dee had purchased a vast amount of weapons from former Sheriff Tim Crippes and Chief Deputy Shane St. Clair and actually showed off his cache as a badge of honor.
Before we get deep into the facts of this story a brief explanation of the statutes and their impact on seized weapons needs to be shared. (720 ILCS 5/24-6) (from Ch. 38, par. 24-6). A primer for this story can be found at this link that explains the basics of the law and its impact on the disposition of weapons.
In a nut shell, they have 4 options:
1. Transfer the guns to the Sheriff to be destroyed
2. Transfer the guns to the Department of the State Police
3. Transfer them to the police agency that confiscated them for their own use
4. Transfer to the Department of Corrections if needed for evidentiary purposes
Notice that little word “Transfer”?
Our Freedom of Information requests have not turned up a single court order transfer for the weapons sold by our past Sheriffs Tim Crippes and Karl Farnham.
I know that doesn’t matter in Edgar County as it’s becoming more and more evident that the law only applies to those outside the circle. Will this story raise enough public outcry to demand justice be served? Strap in because when you’re done reading this you’re going to blow your top.
In June of 2002 Sheriff Karl Farnham accepted a whopping $3,805.00 for the sale of 90 guns to Camotop Sales in Potomac, Illinois. That amounts to a whopping $42.28 per gun. No court order transfer has been found giving then Sheriff Farnham legal possession however even if there was, the guns are not allowed be sold for resale as is outlined in the statute!
Sutton Guns in Paris provided a bid of $2,500.00 for the same weapons and was even nice enough to inform Sheriff Farnham that he would “destroy” any and all illegal guns or barrels! Let me get this right? A FFL dealer makes an offer to buy guns and clearly is willing to take possession of illegal guns?
Then in August of 2003 our own Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officer purchased a seized Mossberg Shotgun for $100. Based on the statute, that is an illegal purchase and facilitated by our own Sheriff Tim Crippes.
Moving forward to April of 2004 we found that Deputy Sheriff Shane St. Clair purchased seized and forfeited weapons along with Mike Krabel. Employees of the Sheriffs office are forbidden from purchasing ANYTHING in a Sheriffs sale as outlined in the statute. I know that doesn’t matter in this case because the Sheriff was not allowed to sell them in the first place so why expect anyone else to follow the law.
(55 ILCS 5/3 6026) (from Ch. 34, par. 3 6026)
Sec. 3 6026. No purchase of property at own sale. No sheriff or deputy sheriff shall become the purchaser, nor procure any other person to become the purchaser for him or her, of any property, real or personal, by him or her exposed to sale, by virtue of any judgment or process; and all such purchases made by any sheriff or deputy sheriff, or by any other person in his or her behalf, shall be absolutely null and void.
Null and void appear to carry an implication that the property purchased by deputies should be returned! Disturbingly, there is no list of what weapons they purchased and no FOID card information as required by state law. If the sale would have been legal those records are required to be held for 10 years. I’m sorry, didn’t mean to expose another law that was broken but I just couldn’t resist.
Then in August of 2004 Sheriff Tim Crippes signed and dated a letter listing 68 weapons that are to be sold through sealed bids. Just a few problems with that letter! The sealed bids reflect bids that will be taken from July 19th through July 23rd of 2004. Interesting dates considering it was signed August 11th of 2004.
Where do we start on this list? How about the second gun on the list for sale! A Davis Industries P-380 with a FILED OFF serial number!
Under Federal law Sec. 5861: Prohibited Acts - It shall be unlawful for any person
(b) to receive or possess a firearm transferred to him in violation of the provisions of this chapter;
(g) to obliterate, remove, change, or alter the serial number or other identification of a firearm required by this chapter; or
(h) to receive or possess a firearm having the serial number or other identification required by this chapter obliterated, removed, changed, or altered; or
(i) to receive or possess a firearm which is not identified by a serial number as required by this chapter; or
If no record of transfer is found they violated (b). Handgun comes in with serial number goes out without, they violated (g) and (h) and who ever got that gun violated (i)
Sec. 5871. Penalties
Any person who violates or fails to comply with any provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $10,000, or be imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.
Now the fact that we have not been able to find any public posting of this offer, or the fact there is no legal authority for the Sheriff to sell these weapons shouldn’t bother anyone as this is Edgar County and the law doesn’t apply. All bids were to be returned to Deputy Shane St. Clair. Notice it states anyone who bids must have a valid FOID and if your bid is accepted they must go through a FFL holder for the proper paperwork.
Isn’t that interesting! They are going to insist the winning bidders follow the law but they themselves are violating numerous laws. So what did they get for those 68 guns, of which one had a filed-off serial number and 8 had no serial numbers?
$3,434.00 worth of guns was purchased by law enforcement officers, of which Dee Burgin was the big winner with a $1,750.00 purchase however no record of which guns went to each person can be found. $327.00 was a cash sale but no record of who that was from or what guns they purchased can be found.
So we have a claimed seal bid that reports the winning bidders must go through a FFL holder yet no record of that ever happening can be located. Isn’t it interesting how all the winning bidders were law enforcement officers? Amazing how that worked out.
Who is in possession of the pistol with the filed off serial number? That clearly is a Federal Crime and both the seller and the purchaser can be charged under Federal Statutes, which by the way carry a felony charge!
How is it that past Sheriffs can facilitate the sale of weapons in direct violation of the law and NO ONE does anything about it? Doubt our opinion on the law?
PEOPLE v. DeLUCA No. 1-97-3857. -- December 14, 1998
The PEOPLE of the State of Illinois, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Ugo DeLUCA, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Weber denied the motion, stating “the law is clear on that, the statute. I can't give [the guns] to private persons.”
Considering we have no clue who got what guns for the most part, who is going to be responsible if one of those guns turns up at a crime scene or God forbid, is involved in a shooting of a citizen? Is this yet another example of our elected officials placing our county in line for another lawsuit? Past Edgar County Sheriffs Karl Farnham and Tim Crippes have sold at least a total of 160 guns and it appears from the law and numerous court rulings those sales were a clear violation of state law and in some cases Federal law. Deputies have purchased some of those weapons and that too is in direct violation of the law.
At what point will the Patriots of this county stand up and demand our laws be enforced on everyone, to include our own law enforcement officers?
The more we dig the more we find and rest assured this is just the first of a multi-part story pertaining to the illegal sales and purchases of seized property by our law enforcement officers in Edgar County.
Note: Prior to running this story we did contact Dee Burgin via e-mail for comment and we received no reply. Communication with Sheriff Motley is what lead us to the statute on deputies being forbidden from purchasing anything at a sheriff's sale. He knew that was illegal and assured us it won’t happen under his watch. I think it’s safe to conclude that deputy's gravy train has been derailed.