CHICAGO -- Former death row inmate Aaron Patterson was arrested Thursday amid a federal investigation into illegal gun and drug sales, his third arrest since being pardoned last year, authorities said.
Patterson was arrested during a traffic stop, said U.S. attorney spokesman Randall Samborn. Samborn said a criminal complaint was expected to be filed today.
Also arrested were Mark Mannie, 36, and Isaiah Kitchen, 55, both of unknown addresses.
According to the U.S. attorney's office, Patterson and Kitchen tried to sell more than 100 grams of heroin to a government informant on four occasions since March.
Patterson and Mannie are both suspected of being felons in possession of a firearm. Federal authorities said the two men bought four firearms during the sting. Patterson is also suspected of distributing 5 1/2 pounds of marijuana to the informant, federal authorities said.
The arrests came after a five-month undercover investigation.
All three men were arrested at separate locations Thursday and will remain in custody overnight, Samborn said. They each are expected to appear in court this morning, once formal charges have been filed. Kitchen's appearance was pending his release from a hospital where he was taken after his arrest.
Messages left for attorneys representing Patterson in an unrelated lawsuit were not immediately returned Thursday night. It was not immediately known if the other two men have attorneys.
Patterson, a former gang member, served 17 years in prison before he became one of four men pardoned in January 2003 by former Gov. George Ryan when the governor cleared death row just before leaving office. A lawsuit is pending on Patterson's behalf claiming investigators tortured him into a false confession.
Patterson had already been arrested twice since his release.
In January, while he was making a failed run for the Legislature, Patterson was charged with misdemeanor counts of simple assault and impersonating a government official.
Authorities said he was urging people to register to vote outside an outreach center and refused to leave when the group's pastor asked him to. Officers said Patterson was also shouting that he was a state official, which he was not.
In May, Patterson was charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor, after he "started a disturbance" during a candlelight vigil outside a police station where an inmate advocate died while in custody.
In that incident, police said Patterson was shouting obscenities and pounding on windows at the police station. Patterson claimed he was trying to help another demonstrator locate some lost keys when an officer yelled at him.