By David Pendered
More than 200 guns purchased illegally in Georgia were sold in Barbados, New York City, New Jersey and multiple other states, where some were used in shootings, according to string of federal indictments dating to Aug. 4.
In a high profile case, suspects charged by New York’s prosecutor are associated with the Brooklyn-based “Blixky Gang,” whose member Nick Blixky was shot and killed last year. Members of the Blixky crew are allegedly associated with at least 87 guns and are described by authorities as:
- “[A] group composed primarily of aspiring rappers. Some of these guns later appeared in music videos filmed by members of the Blixky Gang. The videos, which include some of the defendants charged today, show Blixky Gang members brandishing loaded firearms and displaying stacks of cash.”
Clayton County’s Sheriff’s Office was cited in the statement for its role in the investigation, as were agencies in Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia,
In an era of rising rates of crime, authorities made a point to connect weapons that were purchased and sold illegally with crime:
- “These illegally purchased firearms will more than often be used in violent crimes and it is these types of guns that we need to get off our streets,” L.C. Cheeks Jr., the acting ATF Atlanta special agent in charge, said in a statement released Aug. 30 by Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine, in Atlanta.
- “Today’s arrests shut down the alleged gun pipeline of these nine defendants. These arrests should also 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 in an Aug. 4 statement.
Georgia has a history of delivering weapons into the “gun pipeline” that supplies guns to buyers in states with stricter controls over gun purchases. The five announcements of guilty pleas or indictments indicate the flow of weapons continues.
Federal prosecutors in Atlanta and New York announced the indictments separately. In each case, the guns were purchased from federally licensed gun dealers. Straw buyers lied about purchasing the weapons for personal use and, instead, sold them in other jurisdictions.
This is a snapshot of the destinations and purchases, as described by federal authorities:
- Barbados – At least 30 guns were purchased by a team headed by a College Park man, scrubbed of serial numbers, packed in false compartments in boxes and shipped by common carriers such UPS, FedEx and DHL.
- New Jersey – Nearly two dozen guns purchased in Georgia and Virginia and transported by a team of two men, an active duty U.S. Navy Sailor and one of his former Navy colleagues. At least one was used in shootings in Newark, according to a statement: “Forensic testing linked that second firearm to three separate shootings in Newark, including a violent mugging during which a victim was shot multiple times in the right leg.”
- New Jersey, Florida – A convicted felon purchased dozens of firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines with a fake identification card, which had his photo but another person’s name and date of birth. Guns traced to felon were found at crime scenes in New Jersey and Florida. A statement cited the suspect’s previous record: “numerous felonies, including burglary, robbery, terroristic threats, kidnapping, aggravated battery, and criminal use of personal identification information.”
- New York – A suspect described as a “prolific gun dealer” pleaded guilty to buying more than 100 firearms in Georgia and selling them for double the amount he had paid.
- New York – The case involving members of the Blixky Gang.