Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
San Francisco Field Division
At The Frontline Against Violent Crime
For Immediate Release
August 5, 2010
Office (925) 557-2815
Cell: (925) 202-8135
Last Gun Runner Sentenced in Illegal Trafficking Scheme
Georgia Guns Wound Up on Streets of Bay Area.
SAN FRANCISCO — The eighth member of an illegal gun trafficking ring that trafficked over 65 firearms from Atlanta, Ga., to the San Francisco Bay Area has been sentenced to 27 months in federal prison announced Special Agent in Charge Stephen C. Herkins with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The group bought, shipped then resold the guns from April through June of 2009. Several of these guns were recovered from crime scenes in San Francisco and Oakland.
Jonathan Rice, 26, of Vallejo, Calif., was sentenced Aug. 5, by United States District Judge Honorable Jeffrey S. White in the Northern Judicial District of California for receiving firearms in California that had been unlawfully shipped from Georgia. He was sentenced to 27 months for his part in the illegal operation.
Rice is the last of the Bay Area defendants of this illegal firearms trafficking ring to be sentenced. On July 1, Aurelio Rodriguez was sentenced to 37 months in prison and on July 22, Willie Earnest was sentenced to 15 months in prison and Nkwelle Pendar was sentenced to 60 months of prison.
The sentencing of the last defendant marks the day that those involved in this investigation can no longer traffic guns and terrorize our communities, stated Stephen C. Herkins.
This was a collaborative effort conducted by our agents from Atlanta and San Francisco and is reflective of how ATF prevented additional criminals from receiving guns to further their criminal activities.
All previously pleaded guilty in federal court and admitted that they each received firearms from Jeffrey Colon Moore, a Georgia resident who had shipped the firearms via United Parcel Services to the San Francisco Bay Area. Earnest and Pendar admitted that they sent payments to Moore in Georgia by way of Western Union and sold and delivered those same firearms on the black market.
This case is related to an ATF investigation and federal prosecution in Georgia of individuals who purchased and shipped the firearms to the Bay Area. Jeffrey Colon Moore, Crystal Davis, Danny Bill Davis, and Alexander Quinn, an Oakland resident, were all sentenced on March 12, 2010, in the Northern District of Georgia for their roles in purchasing and shipping the firearms to California.
Moore recruited Crystal Davis and Danny Bill Davis to purchase the firearms and then accompanied them to 12 federally licensed firearms dealers and at least two gun shows in the Atlanta area. Moore selected the firearms and supplied the straw purchasers with the cash to purchase them. One of the federally licensed firearms dealers became suspicious of the volume, frequency and nature of the purchases and contacted ATF. Moore shipped the firearms that the group had purchased to Earnest, Pendar, Rodriguez, Rice, and Quinn.
The following assisted with the investigation: Vallejo Police Department, San Francisco Police Department, and the California Department of Correction.
Assistant United States Attorney Attorney Derek Owens prosecuted the case with the assistance of Kevin Costello and Julie Edwards in the Northern Judicial District of California; and Assistant United States Attorneys Zahra S. Karinshak and Joseph Plummer prosecuted the case in the Northern District of Georgia.
Anyone with information about firearms trafficking or the illegal possession of firearms is encouraged to call ATF at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (800-283-4867). Callers can remain anonymous.
More information about ATF and its programs is available at http://www.atf.gov