Guns

Prosecutors say smuggling ring moved nearly 300 guns from Atlanta to Philadelphia: NPR

Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives linked nearly 300 firearms to 11 people accused of illegally reselling the weapons under a straw-buying scheme, according to court documents.

AFP via Getty Images


hide caption

toggle caption

AFP via Getty Images


Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives linked nearly 300 firearms to 11 people accused of illegally reselling the weapons under a straw-buying scheme, according to court documents.

AFP via Getty Images

As early as July 24, 2020, Philadelphia police began noticing a pattern: they were going to make a local arrest of a crime suspect, and in doing so, they were recovering a gun that had been officially purchased by one of the few people. in Georgia.

This went on for months, and by December officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had linked nearly 300 firearms to a group of Atlanta-based 20-year-olds who allegedly acted as intermediaries and women. -called straw purchases, according to the court documents unsealed this week.

A grand jury indictment filed with the Eastern District of Pennsylvania last month alleges that Fredrick Norman, an Atlanta hip-hop artist who poses as Slowkey Fred, recruited four other people to help him buy firearms from federally licensed gun dealers in Georgia.

According to court documents, Norman purchased 146 guns between May and November of that year; Brianna Walker bought at least 40 guns from June to November; Stephen Norman, purchased at least 13 guns from September to October; and Charles O’Bannon, purchased at least 61 guns between August and November.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia said the guns were all sold for approximately $116,000 to half a dozen buyers who transported the weapons to town and then resold them on the black market. The indictment identifies cousins ​​Edwin Burgos and Kenneth Burgos as the alleged brokers behind these sales, often to convicted felons.

According to the charges, ATF officials say the weapons began showing up at crime scenes around the city days or weeks after they were officially purchased from hundreds of miles away.

“It’s still a red flag,” Robert Cucinotta, spokesman for the ATF’s Philadelphia office, told NPR. “We call it a ‘time to crime’ or ‘recovery time’ period, and when it’s that short, it’s a good indicator that guns are being trafficked.”

In a interview with NBC’s Atlanta affiliate, Fredrick Norman said he had never been to Philadelphia and could not “talk” about the charges.

“I was just living life at the time, so I can’t really share the details of how I got to where I am,” he said.

But Norman pointed out how easy it is to buy a gun in Georgia. He said he attended his first gun show of 2020, adding “I was discouraged by the process”.

“You walk in and there’s a policeman sitting in the front. They don’t check ID or carry a license holder, or if you’re a criminal.”

On Monday, US attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a statement that his office pledged to “do everything we can to stop the violence ravaging our city and support the Philadelphia Police Department in its work.”

Philadelphia has known record gun violence in 2021 and police department data, reflect that there have been 127 murders in the city in April, surpassing last year’s bloody streak.

In total, ATF agents say they discovered more than 4,000 cartridges in a raided apartment in Georgia, along with 183 empty gun crates.