Friday, December 29, 2023

Jury Convicts Kansas City, Kansas Man for Shooting at Law Enforcement

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A federal jury convicted a Kansas man for taking part in a retaliatory shooting that injured two people, including a federal task force officer.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, G’Ante Butler, 24, of Kansas City, Kansas, was found guilty of one count of forcible assault on a federal law enforcement officer and one count of use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

On August 3, 2020, Kansas City, Kansas police officers responded to a “shots fired” call on Farrow Avenue, where the defendant’s parents lived. Later that evening, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Special Agents and federally deputized Task Force Officers (TFOs) went to North Allis Street and arrested one of the individuals responsible for the earlier Farrow Avenue residence shooting. After executing a search warrant at the North Allis Street residence, and as the officers were returning to their vehicles, multiple shooters began firing at them. The officers tried to immediately take cover, however, not before an officer and a civilian bystander were struck by gunfire.

Based on evidence gathered during the subsequent investigation, ATF agents learned the shooting was orchestrated by G’Ante Butler and other individuals in retaliation for the earlier incident on Farrow Avenue. Their plan was to shoot at the North Allis Street home and any individuals they encountered there. Officers later recovered approximately 101 casings and two live rounds (including 9mm, .40 caliber, .45 caliber, 5.56 caliber, and 7.62 caliber casings) from an alley west of the targeted North Allis Street home.

Co-defendants Nadarius Barnes, 24, Chase Lewis, 23, and Donnell L. Hall, 28, all of Kansas City, Kansas, each pleaded guilty to one count of forcible assault on a federal law enforcement officer and one count of use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

A fifth defendant is scheduled to stand trial in February 2024.

“Gang members and their reckless violence are threats to the entire community, including those sworn to protect us. We are fortunate that the officer and the innocent bystander in this case didn’t lose their lives or suffer more serious injuries,” said U.S. Attorney Kate E. Brubacher. “Those who think they can orchestrate gun battles in our streets without the U.S. Department of Justice pursuing severe legal consequences against them are mistaken.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Faiza Alhambra and Trent Krug are prosecuting the case.

OCDETF Strike Force Cases

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations. The specific mission of the OCDETF Kansas City Metro Strike Force is to disrupt and dismantle major criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including criminal gangs, transnational drug cartels, racketeering organizations, and other groups engaged in illicit activities that present a threat to public safety and national security and are related to the illegal smuggling and trafficking of narcotics or other controlled substances, weapons, humans, or the illegal concealment or transfer of proceeds derived from such illicit activities in the Western District of Missouri and District of Kansas. The OCDETF Kansas City Metro Strike Force is comprised of agents and officers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Kansas City, Missouri, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the United States Marshal Service (USMS), the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Missouri (USAO-WDMO), the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas (USAO-KS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Internal Revenue Service/Criminal Investigation Division (IRS/CID), the United States Secret Service (USSS), and the United States Postal Inspection Service and the prosecution is being led by the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Kansas.

Woman Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Firearm Purchase Resulting in Tragic Police Officer Shooting

Regina Lewis, a 28-year-old woman from Normal, Illinois, has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for her involvement in an illegal firearm purchase and transfer scheme. The case revolves around a conspiracy that led to the shooting and tragic death of Champaign, Illinois, Police Officer Christopher Oberheim.

Lewis pleaded guilty to conspiring with co-defendant Ashantae Corruthers and the now-deceased Darion M. Lafayette to purchase and transfer a firearm illegally. Lafayette, a convicted felon, was unable to legally buy a firearm himself, leading to what's commonly known as a "straw purchase." On November 17, 2020, Corruthers, at the direction of Lafayette and Lewis, bought a Glock 48 nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol and nine-millimeter ammunition from a federal firearms licensee (FFL) in Indianapolis. During this purchase, Corruthers falsely certified on an ATF form that she was the actual buyer of the firearm, even though it was intended for Lafayette.

Lewis also admitted to conspiring with Corruthers and Lafayette to conceal their illegal firearm purchase. In April 2021, Corruthers falsely reported to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department that the Glock pistol had been stolen from her in March 2021. Tragically, approximately 23 days after this false report, Lafayette used the firearm to shoot Champaign Police Officers Christopher Oberheim and Jeffrey Creel, fatally injuring Officer Oberheim. Lewis and Corruthers continued their cover-up efforts even after Officer Oberheim's death, fabricating a story for an ATF Special Agent to deflect suspicion.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Colin S. Bruce considered the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which recommended a prison term of only 18 to 24 months. However, the prosecution requested an upward variance from this range, seeking a nine-year sentence due to the gravity of the offense. Officer Oberheim's four daughters and Officer Creel addressed the Court in support of the government's request for an enhanced sentence.

Regina Lewis will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until her transfer to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She faced statutory penalties of up to five years in prison for conspiracy to illegally purchase and transfer a firearm and up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to engage in misleading conduct. Both charges carried a potential three-year supervised release term and a maximum fine of $250,000. The sentencing of Ashantae Corruthers is scheduled for February 12, 2024, in Urbana.

The ATF conducted the case investigation, with Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene L. Miller representing the government in the prosecution.

Empowering Youth through G.R.E.A.T. Program Graduation

PHILADELPHIA — Special Agent in Charge Eric DeGree of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’ Philadelphia Field Division proudly announced today the graduation of students from Tacony Charter Academy who have successfully completed the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program. This graduation marks a significant achievement in fostering essential life skills and positive relationships between law enforcement and local community youth.

The G.R.E.A.T. program, aimed at youth and community outreach, was initiated in 1991 as a proactive measure against violent crime. It employs community-oriented policing strategies and outreach initiatives to change perceptions about law enforcement, one student at a time.

In Philadelphia, G.R.E.A.T. program instructors have been dedicated to combating delinquency, youth violence, and gang affiliation.

DeGree stated, “For 31 years, ATF and local law enforcement partners have been serving as G.R.E.A.T. instructors. Witnessing the growth and success of our youth who participate in this program is immeasurably rewarding for all our instructors.”

Tacony Charter Academy guidance counselor Stephanie Katz expressed gratitude, saying, “Tacony Charter Academy appreciates Agent Baldwin's work with our students. Providing our students with additional learning opportunities concerning decision-making outside of school is extremely important. Equipping them with the tools they need to manage their emotions in different situations, as the G.R.E.A.T. program does, is invaluable. Thanks to ATF for the fantastic support.”

The G.R.E.A.T. curriculum encompasses violence prevention, conflict resolution techniques, decision-making skills, goal setting, and problem-solving. The elementary school curriculum spans six interactive weeks, targeting fourth and fifth graders, with a strong emphasis on family involvement. Students are educated on setting goals, resisting peer pressure, respecting differences, resolving conflicts, and understanding how gang involvement can negatively impact their lives. They also learn the significance of becoming responsible community members.

This training is an integral component of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that unites all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun-related incidents, making local neighborhoods safer for all residents. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy that reinforces PSN's core principles: building trust and legitimacy in local communities, supporting community-based organizations focused on preventing violence, establishing targeted and strategic enforcement priorities, and assessing outcomes.

For more information about the G.R.E.A.T. program, its mission, and its impact on communities, visit the G.R.E.A.T. Home website and review the G.R.E.A.T. fact sheet.

ATF Spreads Holiday Cheer: Collects Toys for Domestic Violence Victims

Ashland, Kentucky — In the spirit of giving and spreading holiday joy, the dedicated employees of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) are working to make this Christmas season a little brighter for local youth facing challenging circumstances.

This year, ATF's Louisville Division, which encompasses Kentucky and West Virginia, took the initiative to purchase Christmas toys for Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky. Safe Harbor is an emergency shelter and advocacy center that offers free, confidential, and supportive services to domestic violence victims in Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Lawrence, and Elliott counties. Each year, Safe Harbor extends a helping hand to as many as 150 women and children in need.

"As we work with crime victims, we are especially aware of the harm domestic violence causes to families," remarked ATF Special Agent in Charge Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Division.

ATF's primary mission is to safeguard the public from violent crime, and it's important to note that approximately 20 percent of all violent crimes fall under the category of domestic violence. Shockingly, according to data from the 2021 National Crime Victim Survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, domestic violence abusers with access to firearms are five times more likely to cause harm to their partners.

"We want our communities to know ATF prioritizes violent crime, and we are committed to helping all victims and survivors," added Morrow.

The heartwarming contribution consisted of a variety of toys, including a brand-new basketball goal for the Ashland facility. The gifts were thoughtfully delivered to Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky on December 21st.

ATF, as the leading federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violent crimes involving firearms, arson, and explosives, continues to uphold its commitment to fostering safer communities. To learn more about ATF and its various programs, you can visit their website at

In the true spirit of the season, ATF's thoughtful gesture demonstrates the power of compassion and community in making a positive impact on the lives of those in need, especially during the holiday season.