For Immediate Release
Bridgeport Man Charged with Trafficking Guns from Georgia to Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division, and Bridgeport Police Chief Roderick Porter today announced that a federal grand jury in Bridgeport has returned an indictment charging Tyree Thomas, 36, of Bridgeport, with offenses relating to the illegal trafficking of firearms from Georgia to Connecticut.
The indictment was returned on July 19, 2023, and Thomas was arrested in Florida on September 6. He appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Dave Vatti in Bridgeport and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As alleged in the indictment and statements made in court, between approximately August 2021 and March 2022, Thomas traveled to Georgia for the purpose of acquiring firearms, and transported the firearms back to Connecticut where he sold or transferred them to others. Several of the firearms that Thomas acquired in Georgia have been recovered by law enforcement in Connecticut, including one that recovered in connection with a homicide.
The indictment also alleges that Thomas was previously convicted in Connecticut state court of felony drug and failure to appear offenses. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
The indictment charges Thomas with crossing state lines with the intent to engage in the unlawful dealing of firearms, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and with unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
Thomas has been detained since his arrest.
U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the ATF and the Bridgeport Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Clark and Rahul Kale.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders works together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.