U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
Southern District of Georgia
Southern District of Georgia
For Immediate Release
June 19, 2013
Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney
Contact: James D. Durham, First Assistant
45 Defendants Charged on Gun, Drug Trafficking and Related Offenses Following Undercover Investigation
Undercover ATF agents purchased, seized 189 firearms during
SAVANNAH, GA — 17 federal indictments, unsealed today in federal court, have charged 33 defendants with federal firearm, drug trafficking or other federal offenses. Four defendants were charged by Chatham County authorities on state firearm and drug offenses. Additionally, eight defendants were previously indicted and prosecuted in 2012. All of the federal and state charges derive from a lengthy undercover investigation dubbed
The United States Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD) initiated Operation Pulaski in late 2011. During the operation, undercover ATF agents purchased guns and drugs from multiple criminal organizations whose scope ranged from regional to international. The undercover agents were able to infiltrate these organizations over a period of time, ultimately purchasing 189 firearms, including handguns, assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns and machine guns; illegal drugs, including over 200 grams of heroin and more than 4 kilograms of cocaine; and stolen vehicles. The investigation revealed that the vehicles were stolen in the New York City area and then transported to the southeastern United States for resale or for shipment abroad for resale. Agents worked in cooperation with the National Insurance Crime Bureau for the return or re-designation of the automobiles recovered in the investigation. 26 of the individuals who sold firearms and drugs to the undercover agents are alleged to be convicted felons. 11 of the individuals investigated are believed to be illegal aliens. In addition, a number of the guns purchased by undercover agents were previously reported stolen.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated,
The Department of Justice works tirelessly to protect the personal safety and the property of its citizens. Operation Pulaski was a relentless effort to remove illegal guns from the streets of our communities and to halt the illegal sale of guns, especially where the transactions were being conducted by violent criminals. This undercover operation serves as notice to the criminal element that if you traffic in firearms, drugs, or stolen cars in this district, you will be apprehended and you will be prosecuted.
This operation is the essence of great law enforcement collaboration and teamwork in removing illegal firearms and narcotics from our communities, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Christopher Shaefer.
ATF and our law enforcement partners stay committed to identifying, apprehending, and prosecuting dangerous criminals and this investigation exemplifies this commitment.
SCMPD Chief Willie Lovett said, “The success of Operation Pulaski was achieved through the coordinated efforts of Metro, the U.S. Attorney and ATF and that cooperation of the three agencies will continue in other operations. The numbers of guns, stolen vehicles and drugs seized in Pulaski are more than significant; they are staggering, considering the criminal history of most of those arrested. I have no doubt those weapons would have been used against innocent victims and the drugs would have ruined lives. We are very appreciative of the agencies that helped make this possible and look forward to this continued relationship.
Mr. Tarver praised the exemplary partnership between the ATF and the Savannah-Chatham County Metropolitan Police Department, and noted that additional investigative support was provided by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including Customs and Border Patrol, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the United States Secret Service.
Following numerous arrests on Tuesday, June 18, and Wednesday, June 19, initial appearances for several of the federally indicted defendants will be held in United States District Court, Statesboro, Georgia, on June 20, 2013. A listing of the 33 defendants newly indicted on federal charges is attached.
Mr. Tarver stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Assistant United States Attorneys Cameron Heaps Ippolito and T. Shane Mayes are prosecuting the federal cases for the United States.
For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.
Operation Pulaski Defendants
|Alejandro Jorge Barrero-Rojas||29||Bolivia|
|Akeem Jamal Edwards||22||Savannah, GA|
|Alvon Mitchell||33||Savannah, GA|
|Anthony Solis-Reyes||25||Honduran National|
|Augustin Rubio-Garcia||31||Hardeeville, SC|
|Cedric Austin||26||Savannah, GA|
|Demetrius Mumford||28||Savannah, GA|
|Derrick Stephens||35||Atlanta, GA|
|Eduardo Cruz-Camacho||32||Savannah, GA|
|Naquan Trell Elliot||19||Savannah, GA|
|Eric Dyches||41||Savannah, GA|
|Hermino Garcia-Rodriguez||25||Garden City, GA|
|Gustavo Reyes-Sosa||25||Bluffton, SC|
|Herbert Carter||31||Savannah, GA|
|Javier Garcia-Rodriguez||29||Garden City, GA|
|Javier Murillo-Solis||32||Hilton Head, SC|
|Jeffrey Barnes||50||Savannah, GA|
|Juan Zapien-Pacheco||26||Hardeeville, SC|
|Leonardo Moreno-Romero||23||Hardeeville, SC|
|Luis Alonso||34||Hardeeville, SC|
|Markus Brown||29||Savannah, GA|
|Martin Anguiano||45||Ridgeland, SC|
|Maximigo Ortega||34||Savannah, GA|
|Michael Holsey||21||Savannah, GA|
|Miguel Hernandez-Landeros||26||Garden City, GA|
|Mikael Oliver||18||Savannah, GA|
|Sonny Vasquez||28||Bluffton, SC|
|Tyreik Watson||34||Savannah, GA|
|Walis Parra-Reyes||31||Bluffton, SC|
|Wendell Brantley||35||Bluffton, SC|
|Reginald Black||20||Garden City, GA|
|Matthew Vasquez||22||Savannah, GA|