For Immediate Release
Three Members of Caribbean Arms Trafficking Ring Charged With Conspiracy to Smuggle Goods From the United States
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the unsealing of an indictment charging Tevin OBrian Oliver (29, Homestead), Jameal Kaia Phillip (30, Trinidad and Tobago), and Edward Soloman King III (31, Tampa) with conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
According to the indictment, Oliver, Phillip, and King were part of a ring that unlawfully exported firearms, firearms components (including upper/lower receivers and gun parts kits), and related items from Florida to Trinidad and Tobago between 2019 and 2022. Oliver and Phillip are both nationals of Trinidad. The firearms, which included pistols and rifles, and related equipment were concealed within boxing/fight equipment, speakers, and other household items to avoid detection by law enforcement and customs authorities. Conspirators also acquired firearms in the Tampa area from different sellers through straw purchases, falsely representing the identities of the actual purchasers and recipients of the firearms, as well as their ultimate destination.
On April 7, 2021, Oliver shipped a package concealing and containing various firearms and related equipment, including a Taurus G2C 9mm pistol, a SAR Arms SAR-9 9mm pistol, a Taurus G3 9mm pistol, and a Ruger Security-9 9mm pistol, from Miami to Trinidad and Tobago. On April 22, 2021, authorities at the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad seized those firearms and other related items that had been concealed in the shipment.
King was arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Middle District of Florida on October 25, 2022. Phillip was arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Florida on October 25, 2022. Oliver was arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Florida on October 26, 2022.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, including HSI’s Attaché, Caribbean, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance provided by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (Transnational Organized Crime Unit and Special Investigations Unit), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and United States Customs and Border Protection. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.