For Immediate Release
Seven Defendants Charged in Alleged Trafficking of Drugs and Firearms Between Suburban Harvey and Central Ohio
CHICAGO ― Seven defendants are facing federal charges here for their alleged participation in a drug and firearms trafficking operation between south suburban Harvey and Marion, Ohio, federal law enforcement officials announced today. At least 19 assorted firearms, many of them stolen from gun owners in central Ohio, were seized during the course of the investigation, which was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
One defendant was arrested today and one yesterday in Ohio, two were arrested last week (one here and one in Ohio), and three others are in state custody in Ohio. They were charged in three separate criminal complaints filed last week in U.S. District Court in Chicago, with the last complaint unsealed today.
One defendant, AUBREY BURKS, 22, of Harvey, allegedly led the trafficking operation. According to one of the complaints, five defendants conspired with Burks between January and April this year to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, some of which they obtained in the Chicago area, to drug customers in and around Marion, located approximately 50 miles north of Columbus. At times, Burks and five other defendants accepted firearms from their drug customers as payment. The defendants transported, or arranged for the transportation, of guns from Marion to Harvey, where they stored them at various residences. The defendants obtained drugs in the Chicago area by exchanging firearms for narcotics, or selling firearms for money they used to buy drugs, which they later sold to customers in Ohio, the charges allege.
Burks was charged alone in one complaint with being a felon-in-possession of firearms for allegedly possessing six firearms that were seized by Harvey police on Jan. 30, 2014, from a residence in Harvey. He was arrested last week in Ohio and is being transferred in custody to Chicago for prosecution.
Five defendants were charged together in a second complaint with conspiring with each other and Burks to possess and distribute heroin and crack cocaine, as well as to violate multiple federal firearms statutes, including dealing firearms without a federal license. They are: KIERRE WATERFORD, 24, also known as “Finess” and “Vaness;” KEVIN JACKSON, 23, aka “Ray-Ray” and “New York;” Burks’ brother, OMAR BURKS, 24, aka “T-O;” ANTHONY JACKSON, 20, aka “Smookie” and “B-D;” and DANIEL MURPHY, 28, all of whom have residential ties to Harvey and/or Marion.
Murphy was arrested today and Anthony Jackson was arrested yesterday, both in Ohio, while Waterford, Kevin Jackson, and Omar Burks are in state custody in Ohio.
The seventh defendant, ANTHONY GALVAN, 19, of Harvey, aka, “Ant,” was charged alone in a third complaint with selling firearms without a federal license. Galvan allegedly sold six firearms to an undercover police officer in a vehicle parked in front of his residence in Harvey during five transactions between Jan. 14 and Feb. 20, 2014. Galvan was arrested last week and remains in federal custody in Chicago without bond.
The arrests and charges were announced by Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Carl Vasilko, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Also assisting in the investigation were the Chicago Police Department and the CPD/ATF Firearms Trafficking Task Force, the Illinois State Police, the Harvey Police Department, the Marion Metro Drug Enforcement Unit (MARMET), the Marion Police Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Police, the Columbus Field Division of ATF, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern and Southern District of Ohio, and the Chicago High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force (HIDTA).
Conspiracy and dealing firearms without a federal license each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison, while the felon-in-possession count against Aubrey Burks carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The drug distribution conspiracy against five defendants carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sharon Fairley.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.