For Immediate Release
Alleged Firearm Traffickers Arrested in ATF Bust
Three men accused of selling guns illegally were arrested in an ATF takedown on Wednesday, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Michael Smith, 36, Khalid Amill, 27, and Rondell Jones, 27, were arrested in Fort Worth on Tuesday, charged via criminal complaint with conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license and felon in possession of a firearm.
Smith and Amil were also charged with drug offenses, as were three other men arrested during the bust: William Davis, 42, and Dwayne Purnell, 54, both charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and Jaquan Thomas, 23, charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.
All six defendants made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton in Fort Worth on Thursday.
According to court documents, Smith, Amill, Jones, and their co-conspirators sold more than two dozen firearms to undercover agents over the course of a month and a half. On multiple occasions, co-conspirators were informed that the guns they sold would be trafficked across the border into Mexico, where they would be resold illegally.
Court documents allege they repeatedly bragged that they could obtain fully automatic AK- and AR-style rifles, referred to as “choppers.” On one occasion, Smith and a coconspirator allegedly attempted to sell a Smith & Wesson pistol that they claimed was equipped with a custom firing pin that made it automatic. When an undercover agent expressed skepticism, they claimed the firing pin was “internal.” On another occasion, Smith allegedly acted as middleman for the sale of a short-barreled Seekins Precision rifle equipped with a selector switch that moved from safe, to single shot, to automatic.
Smith also allegedly brokered the sale of a privately manufactured firearm (PMF), commonly referred to as a “ghost gun,” that contained an extended magazine.
A complaint is merely an allegation of wrongdoing, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, Smith and Amil face up to 35 years in federal prison, while Jones faces up to 15 years in prison. Davis faces up to 40 years in prison, and Thomas faces up to 20 years in prison.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation in partnership with the Fort Worth Police Department’s Gang Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Levi Thomas is prosecuting the case.