Nine people were charged in connection to the gun trafficking operation that saw at least 87 firearms purchased between August 2020 and April 2021 that were then illegally resold as part of the weapons trafficking bust on Wednesday, according to a press readout from the United States Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
“These arrests should … send a message to anyone who is thinking about illegally selling guns to New Yorkers or illegally bringing guns to New York: We and our law enforcement partners are watching. And we will prosecute gun traffickers to the fullest extent of the law,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
The indicted group includes James Thomas, Duvaughn Wilson, Courtney Schloss, Ken Alexander, Argam Taj, Samuel Taj, Christopher Machado, Harlie Ramos, and Jamel Thomas. All have been arrested except for Ramos, Taj, and Machado, who remain at large.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent John DeVito said the suspects involved in the scheme “flooded” New York City streets with illegal firearms.
A total of 18 firearms purchased by Wilson were recovered from several jurisdictions. He also purchased a total of 87 firearms in Georgia from six sellers for the other defendants who then illegally resold the weapons, completing “approximately 30 different transactions,” Justice Department said.
“In many instances, the guns were transferred to members of the Brooklyn-based ‘Blixky Gang’ — a group composed primarily of aspiring rappers,” the readout revealed. “Some of these guns later appeared in music videos filmed by members of the Blixky Gang.”
Suspects are facing charges of conspiracy to commit gun trafficking, illegal transportation or receipt in state of residency of a firearm purchased or acquired outside of the state of residency, and interstate travel with intent to engage in gun trafficking.
Each suspect faces a maximum of five to 10 years in prison. Wilson, James Thomas, and Schloss face an additional 10 years for charges of interstate travel with intent to engage in gun trafficking.