For Immediate Release
Defendant Charged With Trafficking Firearms From Arkansas to All Five Boroughs of New York City
Defendant Allegedly Purchased at Least 137 Firearms; 13 Recovered in New York
An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Kyler Booker with conspiring to deal in firearms and making false statements to acquire firearms. According to public filings, Booker was a straw gun buyer who purchased at least 137 firearms from dealers in Arkansas between December 2019 and September 2021. Law enforcement has recovered at least 13 firearms illegally acquired and distributed by Booker in New York City, across all five boroughs. Booker was arrested this morning in Arkansas and is scheduled to be arraigned today at the federal courthouse in Little Rock, Arkansas, and removed to the Eastern District of New York at a later date.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, John B. DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the arrest and charges.
“Today’s arrest stops one bad actor who illegally purchased at least 137 guns, funneling many into our community including putting firearms in the hands of minors and a convicted criminal,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “While 13 guns have been recovered from across all five boroughs of New York City, as is the unfortunate side effect of the gun violence epidemic, many more of the defendant’s firearms may still be out there. Our Office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to keeping our community safe by doing all we can to stop gun traffickers and quell gun violence.”
Mr. Peace thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas for its assistance with the investigation.
“As alleged, Kyler Booker illegally trafficked firearms directly into the hands of violent criminals in New York; far from the neighborhoods in which they were originally purchased. This case is yet another example of fully exploiting crime gun intelligence and the collaborative work amongst law enforcement and prosecutors to identify and stop these individuals. Mr. Brooker and all others involved in weapons trafficking should know that the men and women of the ATF Joint Firearms Task Force, NYPD and EDNY will work tirelessly to keep our communities safe. Special thanks to the ATF Little Rock Arkansas Field Office for their tireless work on this investigation,” stated ATF Special Agent-in-Charge DeVito.
“The surge of gun violence in New York City is being fueled by individuals who circumvent the law and supply firearms to trigger-pullers,” stated NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “The weapons recovered in this case were headed to only one place, our neighborhoods, in the hands of criminals fully prepared to commit acts of wanton violence. I commend and thank all of the investigators with the NYPD, the ATF, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District for their outstanding work on this and many other cases.”
As alleged in court filings, Booker visited numerous federally licensed retailers in Arkansas and, in 26 separate transactions, purchased at least 137 firearms, including dozens of 9-millimeter pistols. In connection with purchasing the firearms, Booker falsely affirmed that he was the actual buyer when, in fact, he had conspired to sell the guns to other individuals, including customers he communicated with by phone and over Facebook.
The NYPD has recovered at least 13 of the firearms dealt by Booker from across every borough, including eight from Brooklyn:
- Twelve of the recovered firearms were loaded;
- Two were recovered from or near a minor;
- One was recovered from the residence of a parolee who had been convicted of attempted burglary;
- Seven were recovered on a party bus that had been stopped for traffic violations.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Booker faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment for each of the false statement counts and a maximum of five years’ imprisonment for the conspiracy count.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs section. Assistant United States Attorney Victor Zapana is in charge of the prosecution.
Little Rock, Arkansas
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CR-489 (NM)