Sample Block

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Georgia

For Immediate Release

June 19, 2013

Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney

Contact: James D. Durham, First Assistant
(912) 201-2547

45 Defendants Charged on Gun, Drug Trafficking and Related Offenses Following Undercover Investigation

Undercover ATF agents purchased, seized 189 firearms during Operation Pulaski

SAVANNAH, GA — 17 federal indictments, unsealed today in federal court, have charged 33 defendants with federal firearm, drug trafficking or other federal offenses. Four defendants were charged by Chatham County authorities on state firearm and drug offenses. Additionally, eight defendants were previously indicted and prosecuted in 2012. All of the federal and state charges derive from a lengthy undercover investigation dubbed Operation Pulaski.

The United States Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department (SCMPD) initiated Operation Pulaski in late 2011. During the operation, undercover ATF agents purchased guns and drugs from multiple criminal organizations whose scope ranged from regional to international. The undercover agents were able to infiltrate these organizations over a period of time, ultimately purchasing 189 firearms, including handguns, assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns and machine guns; illegal drugs, including over 200 grams of heroin and more than 4 kilograms of cocaine; and stolen vehicles. The investigation revealed that the vehicles were stolen in the New York City area and then transported to the southeastern United States for resale or for shipment abroad for resale. Agents worked in cooperation with the National Insurance Crime Bureau for the return or re-designation of the automobiles recovered in the investigation. 26 of the individuals who sold firearms and drugs to the undercover agents are alleged to be convicted felons. 11 of the individuals investigated are believed to be illegal aliens. In addition, a number of the guns purchased by undercover agents were previously reported stolen.

United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver stated, The Department of Justice works tirelessly to protect the personal safety and the property of its citizens. Operation Pulaski was a relentless effort to remove illegal guns from the streets of our communities and to halt the illegal sale of guns, especially where the transactions were being conducted by violent criminals. This undercover operation serves as notice to the criminal element that if you traffic in firearms, drugs, or stolen cars in this district, you will be apprehended and you will be prosecuted.

This operation is the essence of great law enforcement collaboration and teamwork in removing illegal firearms and narcotics from our communities, said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Christopher Shaefer. ATF and our law enforcement partners stay committed to identifying, apprehending, and prosecuting dangerous criminals and this investigation exemplifies this commitment.

SCMPD Chief Willie Lovett said, “The success of Operation Pulaski was achieved through the coordinated efforts of Metro, the U.S. Attorney and ATF and that cooperation of the three agencies will continue in other operations. The numbers of guns, stolen vehicles and drugs seized in Pulaski are more than significant; they are staggering, considering the criminal history of most of those arrested. I have no doubt those weapons would have been used against innocent victims and the drugs would have ruined lives. We are very appreciative of the agencies that helped make this possible and look forward to this continued relationship.

Mr. Tarver praised the exemplary partnership between the ATF and the Savannah-Chatham County Metropolitan Police Department, and noted that additional investigative support was provided by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), including Customs and Border Patrol, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the United States Secret Service.

Following numerous arrests on Tuesday, June 18, and Wednesday, June 19, initial appearances for several of the federally indicted defendants will be held in United States District Court, Statesboro, Georgia, on June 20, 2013. A listing of the 33 defendants newly indicted on federal charges is attached.

Mr. Tarver stressed that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the Government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant United States Attorneys Cameron Heaps Ippolito and T. Shane Mayes are prosecuting the federal cases for the United States.

For additional information, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547.

Operation Pulaski Defendants

Alejandro Jorge Barrero-Rojas 29 Bolivia
Akeem Jamal Edwards 22 Savannah, GA
Alvon Mitchell 33 Savannah, GA
Anthony Solis-Reyes 25 Honduran National
Augustin Rubio-Garcia 31 Hardeeville, SC
Cedric Austin 26 Savannah, GA
Demetrius Mumford 28 Savannah, GA
Derrick Stephens 35 Atlanta, GA
Eduardo Cruz-Camacho 32 Savannah, GA
Naquan Trell Elliot 19 Savannah, GA
Eric Dyches 41 Savannah, GA
Hermino Garcia-Rodriguez 25 Garden City, GA
Gustavo Reyes-Sosa 25 Bluffton, SC
Herbert Carter 31 Savannah, GA
Javier Garcia-Rodriguez 29 Garden City, GA
Javier Murillo-Solis 32 Hilton Head, SC
Jeffrey Barnes 50 Savannah, GA
Juan Zapien-Pacheco 26 Hardeeville, SC
Leonardo Moreno-Romero 23 Hardeeville, SC
Luis Alonso 34 Hardeeville, SC
Markus Brown 29 Savannah, GA
Martin Anguiano 45 Ridgeland, SC
Maximigo Ortega 34 Savannah, GA
Michael Holsey 21 Savannah, GA
Miguel Hernandez-Landeros 26 Garden City, GA
Mikael Oliver 18 Savannah, GA
Sonny Vasquez 28 Bluffton, SC
Tyreik Watson 34 Savannah, GA
Walis Parra-Reyes 31 Bluffton, SC
Wendell Brantley 35 Bluffton, SC
Reginald Black 20 Garden City, GA
Roberto Barrero 45 Bolivia
Matthew Vasquez 22 Savannah, GA