For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney’s Office and ATF Combat Gun Trafficking in Atlanta, including a spike in Thefts from Licensed Firearms Dealers
ATLANTA – The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the ATF continue to combat gun trafficking in Atlanta, including eight federal cases involving 32 defendants prosecuted in the past four months. In particular, ATF reported a dramatic increase in thefts of firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers in Georgia, facilitating the trafficking of these illegally obtained guns to criminals within and outside the state.
- In 2013, for example, the ATF received reports of 25 burglaries of licensed gun dealers in Georgia resulting in thefts of 338 guns.
- In 2014, the ATF received reports of 34 burglaries of licensed gun dealers in Georgia with a loss of 307 guns.
- In 2015, the ATF received reports of 33 burglaries of licensed gun dealers in Georgia resulting in thefts of 429 guns.
- In 2016, ATF investigated burglaries of 50 federally licensed firearms dealers in Georgia, with a staggering theft of more than 1,000 firearms.
“These stolen guns are trafficked all over the country as well as internationally, and are falling into the hands of convicted felons who use them to terrorize local communities,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Frequently, traffickers who are prohibited from purchasing firearms enlist people with no criminal history – called “straw purchasers” – to buy the guns for them. In this way, relatives, spouses, friends, and associates of gun traffickers may find themselves ensnared in criminal conduct and facing lengthy prison sentences. The illegal trafficking of firearms fuels an entire cycle of criminal conduct that affects our entire community.”
“The primary goal of ATF’s firearms trafficking strategy is to prevent violent crime by disrupting and dismantling the firearms trafficking organizations and networks responsible for supplying violent offenders with crime guns,” said Special Agent in Charge Wayne Dixie. “Our top priority in the Atlanta Field Division of ATF is ensuring that firearms traffickers are aggressively investigated and swiftly brought to justice.”
Recognizing the unique threat posed to public safety by this spike in illegal firearms activity, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with the ATF and local law enforcement partners, has identified and prosecuted those individuals responsible for this spike in firearms offenses. The district’s recent prosecutions include the following cases and involve the following facts based on the charges and other information presented in court:
- United States v. Terry Brown, et. al.: on March 22, 2017, Brown, who led a criminal ring comprising seven defendants that stole 131 firearms from seven gun stores, was sentenced to six years, six months of imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Harold L. Murphy; the defendants’ scheme involved the trafficking of firearms stolen from federally licensed firearms dealers located across the state of Georgia, including dealers in the cities of Dalton, Tallapoosa, Warner Robbins, Athens, Thomson, Monroe, and LaGrange, Georgia; Co-defendants Jameel Drinkard, Eric Moore, and Jacquez Miller previously received sentences of imprisonment of eight years, four years, and one year, three months respectively, while the final defendants’ cases remain pending;
- United States v. Jaleel Wulu and Javaree Williams: on March 22, 2017, the defendants pleaded guilty to making false statements to purchase multiple firearms from several federally licensed firearms dealers and conspiring to do so; the men illegally purchased guns from licensed firearms dealers located in the cities of Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Mableton, Georgia. Defendant Williams admitted to purchasing several firearms for Defendant Wulu – an aspiring Atlanta rapper known as “Trill Castro;” multiple guns purchased by the men were recovered at crime scenes in the state of Maryland;
- United States v. Jordan Brown, et. al.: on March 7, 2017, four defendants were charged with stealing 105 guns from a licensed gun dealer in Cumming, Georgia, by ramming a pickup truck through the side of the store at approximately 5:15 a.m. on December 31, 2016; an employee inside the store at the time fired a shot at the ceiling of the store in an attempt to thwart the burglary; local law enforcement officers arrested the defendants following a car chase;
- United States v. Alfred, et. al.: on March 1, 2017, a federal grand jury charged three defendants in a superseding indictment with trafficking 36 firearms from Georgia to the country of Trinidad and Tobago by using straw purchasers to illegally buy the guns and then secretly shipping the firearms aboard an international air carrier;
- United States v. Robbins, et. al.: on February 27, 2017, Robbins, one of three defendants charged with making false statements to federally licensed firearms dealers to purchase guns, pleaded guilty to this offense; the defendants’ illegal gun purchases resulted in the trafficking of 10 firearms to an individual unlawfully present in the United States; the co-defendants’ charges remain pending;
- United States v. Fisher-Bland, et. al.: on February 21, 2017, six defendants were charged with trafficking 33 firearms from Georgia to Rochester, New York, utilizing straw purchasers to make the illegal gun purchases; two of the defendants travelled from New York to Georgia to illegally purchase and transfer the firearms interstate as part of the scheme;
- United States v. Rawls: on December 20, 2016, Rawls, who illegally purchased firearms that law enforcement officers later recovered at multiple crime scenes in the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to making false statements to a licensed gun dealer and illegally transferring firearms to an out-of-state resident; this prosecution resulted from a collaboration by ATF field offices in Atlanta, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island; and
- United States v. Coffey, et. al.: on December 16, 2016, six defendants were charged with stealing and trafficking 129 firearms across three states – Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; the defendants are alleged to have used a torch to burn a hole through a loading dock bay door of one of the guns stores to gain entry.
These cases were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement, Georgia State Patrol, Atlanta Police Department, Henry County Police Department, Alpharetta Police Department, Cumming Police Department, City of Milton, Georgia, Police Department, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, members of the ATF-RAGE unit in and near August, Georgia, the North Carolina Police Departments of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Rocky Mount, Rock Hill, South Carolina, Police Department, Rochester, New York, Police Department, Holly Springs Police Department, Tallapoosa Police Department, Dalton Police Department, Clayton County Police Department, Bibb County Sheriff’s Office, Monroe Police Department, Thomson Police Department, Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Warner Robins Police Department, LaGrange Police Department, and the Pearl, Mississippi Police Department
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov (link sends e-mail) or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.