During a routine midday traffic stop, Oak Lawn police discovered a hidden handgun with all of its serial numbers filed off.
Shortly before 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25th, an Oak Lawn police officer on patrol observed a black Honda Accord traveling northbound on Cicero Avenue, near 94th Street. The vehicle had side windows tinted darker than the legal limit, and an illegally tinted front windshield. The officer conducted a traffic stop.
While speaking with the driver, Alvaro Rangel of Burbank, and the passenger, the officer detected the strong odor of marijuana. The officer also noted wrappers from Swisher Sweets, a brand of cigarillos commonly used to smoke marijuana.
The officer asked Rangel if any marijuana was in the vehicle. Rangel stated that marijuana had been smoked in the car a day prior. Rangel then consented to a search of his person, which did not turn up any contraband. The officer then began a search of the interior of the vehicle.
The officer found loose tobacco in the center console. The tobacco is often removed from cigars while making a “blunt.”
The officer also noticed green, leafy debris on the floorboards, which the officer believed to be marijuana “shake.”
While searching the rear passenger compartment, the officer moved the front passenger seat, and its rear plastic panel fell open. The panel had broken plastic retaining clips, allowing it to open quickly.
Once the panel fell open, the officer observed a black Glock semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine sitting in the void between the panel and the foam for the seat back. The pistol was positioned in such a way that the driver could reach it and grab it quickly; it was upright with the grip facing the driver and the barrel pointing away.
When asked who the pistol belonged to, Rangel admitted it was his. He also stated he had a license for it.
The officer recovered the pistol and removed the magazine. After verifying that there was no live round in the chamber, the officer made the pistol safe.
While unloading the pistol, the officer observed that the serial number on the side of the slide had been filed off. It also appeared that the serial number on the barrel had been removed. Due to being fitted with a laser sight, the officer was unable to immediately determine if the serial number on the frame had been removed as well. That serial number was later confirmed to be removed, too.
The officer checked Rangel’s name again, confirming that he did not have a valid concealed carry license, though he did have an active FOID card. Rangel was Mirandized, at which time he requested an attorney.
The State’s Attorney’s office approved one class three felony charge for possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number. Rangel was also cited for illegally tinted windshield, illegally tinted front side windows, and vehicle used with illegal activities.
The Glock 22 .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol with a 4.5 inch barrel, extended magazine, ammunition, and laser sight were inventoried as evidence.