Federal Judge In Houston Hands Down 14-Year Sentence In Firearms Conspiracy
HOUSTON - Tyrone Reid, 22, a citizen of Dominica residing in Houston, has been ordered to prison following his conviction in a conspiracy involving numerous co-defendants who lied to federal firearms dealers in the purchase of firearms, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Reid was convicted Feb. 19, 2013, after three days of trial and approximately two hours of deliberation.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner, who presided over trial, handed Reid a 168 month sentence - 60 months for the conspiracy conviction as well as 60 and 48 months on each of the two convictions of making false statements to a federal firearms licensee. All counts are to run consecutive to each other for a total sentence of 14 years in federal prison. At the hearing today, Judge Hittner found Reid to be connected to known drug traffickers in the Virgin Islands and the most culpable in this criminal conspiracy. In handing down the sentence, Judge Hittner also ordered that Reid, not a U.S. citizen, to be immediately deported following completion of his prison sentence.
“The sentencing today sends a clear message that Illegal firearms trafficking will not be tolerated,” said Magidson. “We will continue to make every effort to prevent the illicit flow of firearms in our country.”
The case began when officers of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) executed a search warrant at the home of a known drug dealer in the Virgin Islands which resulted in the discovery of drugs and several firearms. These firearms were found to have been purchased by individuals in Houston at Reid’s direction.
The evidence presented at trial demonstrated Reid would induce others to claim they were the actual buyer of the firearms, even though he supplied the money and immediately took possession from the buyer. Testimony revealed that none of the purported buyers kept any of the firearms they purchased, many which were later found in crime scenes, both in the continental United States and in the Virgin Islands.
Western Union receipts sent from the Virgin Islands to the United States reflected more than $60,000 in payments received by Reid or at his direction. Further, three of the firearms were recovered by agents in a search at the home of one of Reid’s associates, who was also linked to some of the money sent to the Virgin Islands to Reid here in Houston. Evidence demonstrated that a total of seven firearms were seized in the Virgin Islands, six of which were seized from crime scenes, including a homicide. Two other firearms associated with this conspiracy were found in New Jersey crime scenes, including an aggravated armed robbery.
Testimony revealed that more than 30 firearms were identified with this lying and buying conspiracy.
Reid’s grandmother, who had traveled to Houston to testify, told the jury that Reid had sent guns to her in the Virgin Islands. Reid took the stand on his own behalf and then called his grandmother a liar.
Reid will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Reid’s co-conspirators in Houston and another in the Virgin Islands were all also convicted and sentenced for their roles in the scheme.
“The successful resolution to this case would not have occurred without the outstanding inter-agency cooperation of HSI, VIPD, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Customs and Border Protection, Houston Police Department - Major Offenders, Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Postal Service,” Magidson said. “By working together, we could ensure the investigation progressed and five people were ultimately held accountable for their criminal actions.”
Assistant United States Attorneys Joe Magliolo and Megan Paulson prosecuted the case.