October 22, 2021

Bazar Lead

Just Law & Legal

9 Defendants Indicted In Interstate Gun Trafficking Scheme | USAO-SDNY

Deputy Legal professional Typical Lisa O. Monaco joined Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John B. DeVito, Distinctive Agent in Cost of the New York Subject Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), and Dermot Shea, Law enforcement Commissioner for the Town of New York (“NYPD”), for the announcement these days of a 3rd superseding indictment charging JAMES THOMAS, a/k/a “Spazz,” DUVAUGHN WILSON, a/k/a “Dupree,” COURTNEY SCHLOSS, a/k/a “Bway,” a/k/a “Balenci,” KEN ALEXANDER, a/k/a “Ryu,” ARGAM TAJ, a/k/a “Sour,” SAMUEL TAJ, a/k/a “Sosa,” CHRISTOPHER MACHADO, a/k/a “Chris Elite,” HARLIE RAMOS, a/k/a “White Lady,” and JAMEL THOMAS, a/k/a “Mel,” with conspiracy to dedicate gun trafficking and gun trafficking, in link with their involvement in a plan to illegally transport firearms from Ga for resale to citizens of New York.  THOMAS, WILSON, and SCHLOSS ended up also charged with interstate journey with intent to have interaction in gun trafficking.  This situation is assigned to United States District Choose Sidney H. Stein.

JAMEL THOMAS and ARGAM TAJ have been arrested this morning in SDNY and will be offered in advance of U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Lehrburger later on currently.  KEN ALEXANDER was arrested this early morning in the District of Massachusetts and will be offered just before a magistrate decide in Boston later today.  WILSON, SCHLOSS, and JAMES THOMAS were beforehand charged SCHLOSS and JAMES THOMAS are at this time in custody.  HARLIE RAMOS, SAMUEL TAJ, and CHRISTOPHER MACHADO continue to be at substantial.

Manhattan U.S. Lawyer Audrey Strauss mentioned: “Today’s arrests shut down the alleged gun pipeline of these nine defendants.  These arrests must also ship a information to any person who is considering about illegally marketing guns to New Yorkers or illegally bringing guns to New York: We and our law enforcement partners are observing.  And we will prosecute gun traffickers to the fullest extent of the legislation.” 

ATF Distinctive Agent in Demand John B. DeVito stated: “The folks named in the indictment are alleged to have participated in a trafficking scheme which flooded our New York Metropolis Streets with illegal firearms. Combatting firearms trafficking lies at the heart of ATF’s technique to end violent gun crime.  Exploitation of Criminal offense Gun Intelligence along with efficient collaboration with our law enforcement companions will allow for us to disrupt and dismantle groups these as this that in transform gasoline the violence in our communities.  I would like to thank the New York Law enforcement Office for their partnership on this situation and the United States Attorney’s Business for their leadership.”

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea mentioned: “The NYPD carries on to function closely with our legislation enforcement companions to drive down gun violence and quit the trafficking of illegal firearms in New York City. I commend the get the job done of the investigators and prosecutors whose tricky operate resulted in these arrests, firearms seizures, and indictment.”

In accordance to the allegations in the Superseding Indictment unsealed nowadays in Manhattan federal court docket:[1]

From at minimum in or around August 2020 up to and together with April 2021, the defendants utilised Georgia resident DUVAUGHN WILSON, a/k/a “Dupree,” as a straw purchaser to invest in at the very least 87 firearms from at least six federal firearms licensees (“FFLs”) in Ga.  Over the system of the plan, in the course of which WILSON done roughly 30 distinctive transactions, WILSON attested that he was the legitimate purchaser of the firearms, when in simple fact he was shopping for the guns on behalf of the defendants, who in convert illegally resold a lot of of the guns to many others.

Prior to buys, the defendants coordinated with WILSON to spot orders for particular firearms and fork out for the weapons making use of money, cell banking apps, and by way of wire payments.  When communicating about the firearms, the defendants employed coded language, referring to the weapons as “tvs,” “knocks,” and “situations.”  In some occasions, the defendants referred to the caliber or product of a firearm by referencing the jersey numbers of well-known athletes.

After purchasing the weapons, WILSON transferred the firearms to defendants JAMES THOMAS, a/k/a “Spazz,” COURTNEY SCHLOSS, a/k/a “Bway” a/k/a “Balenci,” and other folks who (i) bought some of the guns in Ga and (ii) transported other firearms, mainly by bus, to New York for resale.  In lots of occasions, the guns have been transferred to members of the Brooklyn-primarily based “Blixky Gang” – a group composed mainly of aspiring rappers.  Some of these guns afterwards appeared in audio videos filmed by associates of the Blixky Gang.  The videos, which include some of the defendants charged now, show Blixky Gang customers brandishing loaded firearms and displaying stacks of dollars.

On some instances, law enforcement correctly interdicted firearms currently being transported by the defendants in advance of they reached New York.  For example, in November 2020, regulation enforcement in South Carolina stopped a bus in Wellford, South Carolina, from which they seized five firearms, four pistol magazines, a significant potential .40 caliber magazine, and a nine-millimeter drum magazine – all of which ended up staying transported by the defendants in a single backpack.

Law enforcement in New York City seized other firearms purchased in Georgia by WILSON.  On at minimum two instances, in the wake of violent crimes, the NYPD seized firearms trafficked to New York as section of this plan.  As alleged, in February 2021, the NYPD seized a gun that WILSON experienced bought right after a fleeing suspect discharged it at responding officers in the Bronx.  And in April 2021, pursuing a taking pictures in the Bronx, the NYPD seized one more pistol purchased by WILSON.

To day, legislation enforcement authorities throughout several jurisdictions have recovered a overall of 18 firearms bought by WILSON in the class of the plan.

A chart made up of the names, costs, and utmost and minimum amount penalties for the defendants is established forth underneath.  The highest probable sentences in this scenario are approved by Congress and are furnished in this article for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be identified by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the superb investigative function of the ATF and the New York Town Law enforcement Division.  Ms. Strauss thanked Lisa O. Monaco, the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, for the Department of Justice’s support and management in the space of gun trafficking.  Ms. Strauss also thanked local law enforcement partners as nicely as those people in Ga, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, which includes the ATF’s Greenville Field Business, Boston Area Division, and Atlanta Subject Division the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office environment the New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Drive the Duncan Police Section, Wellford Law enforcement Department, and Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Business in South Carolina the Clayton County Sherriff’s Office in Georgia the Rockingham County Sherriff’s Workplace and Virginia State Law enforcement in Virginia the Pennsylvania Point out Law enforcement the United States Marshals Provider and the United States Attorney’s Places of work in the Eastern District of New York, the Northern District of Ga, the District of South Carolina, and the District of Massachusetts.

This scenario is being dealt with by the Office’s Typical Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Ashley C. Nicolas and Matthew J. King are in demand of the prosecution.

The prices in the Indictment are basically accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent except and right up until proven responsible.

Count

Charge

Defendants

Max. Penalty

1

Conspiracy to Dedicate (i) Gun Trafficking, and (ii) Unlawful Transportation or Receipt in State of Residency of Firearm Obtained or Acquired Outside of Condition of Residency

JAMES THOMAS, a/k/a “Spazz,”

 

DUVAUGHN WILSON,

 a/k/a “Dupree,”

 

COURTNEY SCHLOSS, a/k/a “Bway,” a/k/a “Balenci,”

 

KEN ALEXANDER, a/k/a “Ryu,”

 

ARGAM TAJ, a/k/a “Sour,”

 

 SAMUEL TAJ, a/k/a “Sosa,”

 

CHRISTOPHER MACHADO, a/k/a “Chris Elite,”

 

HARLIE RAMOS, a/k/a “White Woman,”

 

JAMEL THOMAS, a/k/a “Mel”

 

5 several years

2

Gun Trafficking

JAMES THOMAS, a/k/a “Spazz,”

 

DUVAUGHN WILSON,

 a/k/a “Dupree,”

 

COURTNEY SCHLOSS, a/k/a “Bway,” a/k/a “Balenci,”

 

KEN ALEXANDER, a/k/a “Ryu,”

 

ARGAM TAJ, a/k/a “Sour,”

 

 SAMUEL TAJ, a/k/a “Sosa,”

 

CHRISTOPHER MACHADO, a/k/a “Chris Elite,”

 

HARLIE RAMOS, a/k/a “White Girl,”

 

JAMEL THOMAS, a/k/a “Mel”

Five decades

3

Interstate Vacation With Intent to Engage in Gun Trafficking

JAMES THOMAS, a/k/a “Spazz,”

 

DUVAUGHN WILSON,

 a/k/a “Dupree,”

 

COURTNEY SCHLOSS, a/k/a “Bway,” a/k/a “Balenci,”

10 years

 

 


 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth in this launch represent only allegations, and each fact explained really should be addressed as an allegation.