DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of New York

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 2, 2018
Geoffrey S. Berman
, United States Attorney
Contact: James Margolin, Dawn Dearden, Nicholas Biase

Security Guard at the 9/11 Memorial and a Conspirator Charged in Manhattan Federal Court with Firearms Trafficking

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Ashan M. Benedict, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the arrest of MAQUAN MOORE, a 9/11 Memorial security guard, and MORRIS WILSON, for the trafficking of more than 25 firearms from locations outside of New York into Manhattan.  MOORE and WILSON were arrested last night by the ATF and NYPD, and presented today on separate complaints before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox in Manhattan federal court.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Maquan Moore and Morris Wilson are responsible for illegally introducing into Manhattan scores of illegal firearms – including assault-style weapons capable of inflicting mass casualties – and knowingly doing so in the neighborhood of a nearby school.  Their alleged disregard for public safety could have had catastrophic consequences.  The danger of selling unlicensed firearms cannot be overstated.  I commend our NYPD and ATF partners for keeping these guns out of the hands of unlicensed owners.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan M. Benedict said:  “ATF is committed to making the streets safe by ridding neighborhoods of individuals that seek to distribute illegal firearms. Maquan Moore and Morris Wilson are alleged to have trafficked numerous firearms into New York City endangering the lives of its citizens. Thanks to the efforts of the Special Agents and Detectives assigned to the ATF/NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force, this interstate firearms trafficking network will be disbanded and all of its tentacles prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I would like to extend my gratitude to the United States Attorney’s Office for their work in prosecuting the case.”

NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said:  “As charged, these defendants engaged in several transactions involving the sale of multiple illegal firearms on the streets of New York City.  Their actions could have jeopardized the lives of an untold number of citizens as we have seen far too often. It was only through the well-coordinated efforts of the Joint Firearms Task Force that this gun-trafficking operation was successfully curtailed.”

According to the allegations in the Complaints[1]:

Beginning in December 2017, an ATF/NYPD Task Force made multiple undercover purchases of firearms from MOORE, who at the time was working as a security guard at the 9/11 Memorial.  These firearms included several assault-styled weapons, such as a MAC-10 machine pistol, and various other handguns and rifles.  On the evening of February 1, 2018, an undercover officer purchased from MOORE additional firearms, many of which had been brought by WILSON from Florida to New York.  In connection with MOORE and WILSON’s arrest, the ATF/NYPD Task Force seized 21 additional firearms.

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MOORE, 29, of Manhattan, (link is external)is charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms, firearms trafficking, interstate transportation and receipt of firearms, and possession of a firearm near a school zone, each of which carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison; and receiving a firearm with intent to commit an offense, which carries a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison. 

WILSON, 32, of Orlando, Florida, is charged with conspiracy to traffic firearms, firearms trafficking, and interstate transportation and receipt of firearms, each of which carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the efforts of the ATF and NYPD in this case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jacob Warren and Dominic Gentile are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaints are merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaints and the description of the Complaints forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

New York Field Division