News and Press Releases

49 INDICTED, 373 ILLEGAL FIREARMS TAKEN OFF STREETS IN UNDERCOVER STOREFRONT OPERATION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2011
http://www.jusice.gov/usao/gan/
CONTACT:  Patrick Crosby
(404)581-6016
FAX (404)581-6160

Operation ATL Blaze,” an ATF and APD Operation, Nets Convicted Felons, Parole Violators, and Burglars Who Trafficked Firearms,
And Sold Drugs and Stolen Merchandise to Undercover Agents

            ATLANTA, GA - Federal and state grand juries have indicted 49 people on firearms, drug trafficking, and theft charges relating to a storefront sting operation operated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Atlanta Police Department. The storefront sting targeted convicted felons and other dangerous criminals who traffic guns in high-crime areas of Atlanta.  Federal and state officials announced the arrests at a news conference this afternoon at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta, while the federal defendants appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Janet F. King. The defendants indicted in Fulton County will make appearances in state court later this week.    

            Sally Quillian Yates, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard; Gregory K. Gant, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Chief George Turner of the Atlanta Police Department; and Beverly Harvard, United States Marshal for the Northern District of Georgia, disclosed the sting operation and the indictments, which were handed down after a seven-month undercover storefront operation initiated by ATF in late 2010.

            United States Attorney Yates said, “This undercover operation was strategically aimed at felons and violent criminals who are flooding our streets with illegal guns.  ATF, working together with APD, operated  an authentic-looking fencing operation that succeeded in taking almost 400 firearms from the hands of criminals. This was a proactive, not reactive, approach to law enforcement to get guns out of the hands of criminals. The Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service have been critical partners in this endeavor and we believe that our citizens are safer now that these guns and criminals are no longer on our streets.”

            Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said, “Law enforcement officials in Fulton County have devoted considerable time and resources attempting to reduce burglaries in our County. Through our cooperation, communication and the Burglary Task Force, we have in the last two years reduced burglaries by over 15%. We applaud our federal partners for their innovative and outstanding efforts. The District Attorney's Office believes this federal and local partnership is a key measure in our fight to rid our communities of illegal weapons and drugs.”

In a statement, ATF Special Agent in Charge Gregory Gant said, “Operation ‘ATL Blaze’ was a bold joint operation designed to protect our communities by removing violent criminals involved in armed drug trafficking and the unlawful use and possession of firearms in the city of Atlanta. The types of crimes these defendants were involved with directly threatens the stability of our communities and dreams of our youth. The city of Atlanta cannot afford to be without the hopes of any of its citizens; therefore we must do all  we can to keep every one of them safe and protected. Every neighborhood deserves to be a safe neighborhood. This aggressive law enforcement collaboration sends a clear message that those individuals who threaten the very fabric of our communities will be dealt with.” ATF was also represented at today’s news conference at the federal building by ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Pearce.

            “This operation is a direct result of the collaborative efforts with our federal law enforcement partners that I strongly support and encourage,” said Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner. “Crime knows no borders, and recognizes no uniforms or agency insignia; neither should our efforts to combat those who seek to traffic in criminal activity such as the kind we have witnessed over the past several months in Operation ATL Blaze.”

United States Marshal Beverly Harvard said, “Law enforcement must employ varying tactics to make our cities safer and remove criminal elements from our communities. The United States Marshals Service is committed to partnering with other federal, state and local criminal justice agencies and removing from our streets those who play a role in wreaking havoc in our communities through illegally peddling firearms.”

            According to United States Attorney Yates, the indictment, and evidence in court:  The storefront operation, called “ATL Blaze,” was located on Campbellton Road in Southwest Atlanta, and operated as a smoke shop, selling clothing, tobacco and tobacco-related products. Undercover agents, posing as store managers and employees, put out the word on the street that they were interested in buying firearms and drugs. Weapons traffickers, drug traffickers, and convicted felons began approaching the undercover agents about buying guns, drugs, and stolen property.

            In some instances, the defendants told the undercover agents information that helped solve and prevent other crimes.  For example,  a defendant told the agents that he and others burglarized a store while wearing masks in order to defeat the store's video surveillance system. ATF relayed this information to Peachtree City Police officers, who were able to arrest the individuals responsible for the burglary. On another occasion, some of the defendants approached the undercover agents about committing a home invasion robbery of a drug dealer, and, in order to prevent a violent crime from occurring, six defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury and arrested two months ago for conspiring to rob the drug dealer and carrying and possessing firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence. Among those indicted, 10 defendants sold contraband to the undercover agents while they were either on bond for a pending charge, on probation, or on parole.

            The weapons taken in off the streets during the operation include 257 handguns, 60 rifles, 46 shotguns, and 10 sawed-off shotguns.

            The 49 defendants were indicted on charges ranging from conspiring to commit a home invasion robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of an unregistered sawed-off rifle, possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful dealing in firearms without a license, possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and aggravated identity theft.

            Those indicted by federal grand juries and arrested today, or already in custody, and their charges include (most from Atlanta except where indicated):

  • MICHAEL ALLEN, 22, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms and Unlawful Dealing in Firearms
  • RONALD ALLEN, 29, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (6 counts)
  • TIMOTHY ANDERSON, 22, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (16 counts), Possessing Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute (2 counts), and Possessing Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime
  • CALVIN BARBER, 26, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms, Unlawful Dealing in Firearms, and Possessing a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number
  • KELVIN CANTY, 23, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (5 counts)
  • DENELLION DAUGHTERY, 27, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (8 counts) and Possessing Heroin with the Intent to Distribute (2 counts)
  • ANTONIO JAMAL DAVIS, 26, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • JEVON FLEETWOOD, 19, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • TRAYONTEY FRANKLIN, 20, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • MAYA GATES, 31, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms, Unlawful Dealing in Firearms, and Possession of an Unregistered Sawed-off Shotgun
  • COURTNEY HALL, 26, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (2 counts)
  • RICKY HILL, 23, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (8 counts)
  • SIGMUND JACKSON, 31, College Park, GA, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • NAPOLEAN LAMAR, 22, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • BRIAN MOSELEY, 20, Decatur, GA, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • EMANUEL POWELL, 41, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (6 counts) and Possessing a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number
  • TREIVAUGHN AKEEM PURDUE, 22, Jonesboro, GA, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (8 counts)
  • JAMES SELLERS, 28, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (2 counts)
  • MACEO THOMAS, 42, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (2 counts)
  • DARRIUS TOWNS, 25, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence 
  • DARIUS WEBB, 25, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms and Unlawful Dealing in Firearms
  • BRANDON WILLIAMS, 24, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence

Those indicted by state grand juries and arrested today, or already in custody, and their charges, include:

JARVIS JONES, 34, Atlanta, GA, Trafficking in Cocaine (2 counts), Sale of Cocaine (2 counts)

KALIPH G. JONES, 22, Villa Rica, GA, Theft by Receiving Stolen Property (2 counts)

RODNEY DEMETRIUS MARION, 29, Forest Park, GA, Trafficking in Cocaine (9 counts), Sale of Cocaine (9 counts), and Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony (2 counts)

JOSHUA SMITH, 22, East Point, GA, Theft By Receiving Stolen Property

PEYTON DESHUN WELDON, 18, Atlanta, GA, Theft by Receiving Stolen Property (2 counts)

            Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations.  A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government's burden to prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

            This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Atlanta Police Department. Assistance in this case has been provided by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Social Security Administration.

            Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey Brown, Phyllis Clerk, Brent Grey, Nekia Hackworth, Teresa Hoyt, Joseph Plummer, Greg Radics, Stephanie Gabay-Smith and Jill Steinberg are prosecuting the cases.

            For further information please contact Sally Quillian Yates, United States Attorney, or Charysse L. Alexander, Executive Assistant United States Attorney, through Patrick Crosby, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Attorney's Office, at (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

 

 

 

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Stay Connected
Facebook Twitter
Victim Witness Assistance

Making sure that victims of federal crimes are treated with compassion, fairness and respect

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Prescription Drug Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse