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Chicago cops investigating how suspect got loaded handgun into police lockup

The gun was discovered by a cleaner while tidying the holding cell at the police station


By William Lee
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Chicago police are investigating how a Humboldt Park man with a long criminal history got a loaded handgun past officers and into the police station lockup over the weekend.

The .22-caliber handgun was discovered by a cleaner while tidying the holding cell at the police station at 2452 W. Belmont Ave., according to police and Cook County prosecutors.

Pictured is Miguel Acevedo. (Photo/Chicago PD)
Pictured is Miguel Acevedo. (Photo/Chicago PD)

Authorities said Miguel Acevedo, 38, was picked up by police early Saturday when they discovered him and another man, a documented gang member, “using narcotics” inside a car on the Northwest Side.

Acevedo, who was on parole for a 2017 drug conviction, told officers his name was "Luis Rodriguez" and then "Angel Gonzalez." Police later determined Acevedo's true identity and his status as a parolee. He was arrested and charged with obstructing his identity and a parole violation, authorities said.

Acevedo was processed at the police station on Belmont known as “019 West” and brought to a cell where he was alone, authorities said. Surveillance video caught him hiding the gun, loaded with five rounds, underneath a mattress.

On Sunday, a judge denied bail for Acevedo during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. Acevedo, of the 1200 block of North California Avenue, was charged with being an armed habitual criminal, a Class X felony punishable with up to 30 years in prison.

State prison officials also lodged a hold on his release, claiming a possible parole violation that will be determined at a later date.

Acevedo's criminal background includes dozens of arrests since 2000 and six felony convictions, mostly for drug offenses, and eight misdemeanor convictions.

In a statement to the Tribune, a spokesman for police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the department has opened an internal investigation into how three officers and a civilian aide apparently missed the gun. They could face suspension.

“CPD takes the safety and security of police officers and individuals in police custody extremely seriously,” spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in the statement.

The Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division will conduct the review, including interviews with officers and detainees, he said.

People taken into police custody are subjected to a "protective pat down,” where officers search a person’s outer clothing for weapons or drugs. Arrestees are not required to undergo strip searches.

Smuggling weapons past authorities at police stations and county jails are considered rare, though a number of notable cases have cropped up around the country in recent years.

Last year, a man arrested for battery and violating an order of protection was accused of bringing a loaded .32-caliber Kel-Tec handgun into Cook County Jail and tossing it into a garbage can. The incident sparked an investigation by Chicago police Internal Affairs.

In February 2011, two Chicago police officers were wounded inside their squad car by a handcuffed panhandler who pulled a handgun the officers failed to find during a pat-down. Both officers shot and killed the man.

In 2012, a man managed to smuggle a .38-caliber revolver with a 6-inch barrel inside the Onslow County Jail in North Carolina after concealing it inside a body cavity, according to published reports.

©2018 the Chicago Tribune

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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