Multiple Indictments In Gun Trafficking Crackdown
PHILADELPHIA - A group of 11 indictments, naming 22 defendants, was unsealed today as a result of an undercover investigation into illegal gun trafficking by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. In one indictment, the gun sales were so blatant, the buyer could drive up and have a gun delivered to the car. Some of the defendants are also charged with selling sawed-off shotguns and rifles and possessing firearms as a convicted felon. In addition to the indictments, the operation resulted in the seizure of more than five dozen guns, ranging from handguns to military-style semiautomatic rifles, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Among the defendants charged, 17 were arrested today.
The indictments were announced by United States Attorney Zane David Memeger, ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Sheree L. Mixell, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
According to one 45-count indictment, defendants, Luis Ramos, Daniel Ruiz, Dalvi Rodriguez, Jim Cruz, Hector Ortiz, Ruben Ramos, and Eddy Delacruz, used Ramos’ house, at 2066 East Atlantic Street in Philadelphia, as the center for gun-selling activity between February 2011 and August 2012. On at least 15 separate occasions, one or more of the co-conspirators agreed to sell a buyer a gun and, when the buyer pulled up in front of Ramos’ house, or other locations, delivered the gun to the buyer’s car window. In addition to Ramos’ house, it is alleged that the defendants also used a storage facility at 3503 North B Street and a clothing store at 3900 Kensington Avenue for purposes of conducting their illegal gun sales. Defendant Miguel Massa is charged in the indictment with a single count of knowingly possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Five of the defendants, Ramos, Daniel Ruiz, Jim Cruz, Hector Ortiz, and Ruben Ramos, are each charged with being a convicted felon in possession of firearms. In all, these defendants allegedly sold 43 guns illegally, plus ammunition.
A separate indictment charges Alexander Rivera-Matos, Warren Johnson, and Delano Bullock with conspiracy to illegally sell firearms between April 3, 2012 and June 2012. According to the indictment, the defendants conducted their illegal gun sales out of 1437 Jerome Street and an apartment in the 3500 block of Frankford Avenue. Bullock, Johnson, and a fourth defendant, Abdul Mack, are also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. In all, these defendants allegedly sold 11 guns illegally.
A third indictment charges Leonardo Hernandez and Gilbert Acevedo with conspiracy to illegally sell firearms. According to the indictment, the defendants conducted their illegal gun sales out of a storage locker at 1901 East Westmoreland Street, and residences at 3565 Frankford Avenue, 3153 Weymouth Street, and 2845 Mascher Street. The two defendants allegedly sold five guns plus ammunition.
A fourth indictment alleges that on several occasions between September 2010 and November 2011, defendant Perry Leach, who resided in Ohio at the time, allegedly arranged the illegal sale of firearms. For example, the indictment alleges that on September 7, 2010, Leach boarded a bus from Ohio to Philadelphia with a 9-mm semi-automatic weapon made from a rifle along with a .380 semi-automatic pistol to sell. Leach is also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. In all, Leach is alleged to have illegally sold six guns, plus ammunition.
“The United States Attorney’s Office remains fully committed to improving the quality of life for the citizens of this district,” said U.S. Attorney Memeger. “We have seen that much of the violent crime committed on the streets of Philadelphia involves illegal firearms possessed by prohibited persons. My office will continue to support Commissioner Ramsey and the City of Philadelphia in combating the violence and other crimes that plague the city. The Violent Crime Reduction Partnership is very important to this effort.”
“ATF will continue to focus our attention on those criminals who prey upon the innocent citizens of Philadelphia,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge Mixell. “Through our outstanding partnership with the members of the Violent Crime Reduction Partnership (VCRP), we remain committed to combating violent crime and reducing illegal firearms activity in Philadelphia.”
“Illegal guns on the streets contribute to the murder rate, the crime rate, and the fear in this city,” said Commissioner Ramsey. “But these defendants should serve as an example that we are serious about finding those people responsible for putting those guns on our streets, arresting them, and putting them away for a long time.”
Defendant Pierre DeJesus Rivera is charged in a separate indictment with possession of an unregistered firearm, that being a .30-caliber sawed-off rifle. Carl DeShields is charged in a separate indictment with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, that being a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun.
Defendant Demetrius Norris is charged with four counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a convicted felon, that being three 9mm semi-automatic pistols and ammunition.
Defendant Monteaz Craig is charged with making false statements to a federal firearms licensee in a straw purchase of an AK-47 style rifle.
Defendant Robert Rowell is charged with possession of a shotgun by a convicted felon.
Defendant Vernon Johnson is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of an AK-47 style rifle.
Defendant Kevin Alston is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a MAK-90 Sporter and ammunition.
Three of the defendants charged are facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, with a maximum sentence of life (reference attached charts).
The cases were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph Labar, Neuman Leverett, Robert Livermore, Virgil Walker, and Salvatore Astolfi.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE Contact: PATTY HARTMAN
EASTERN DISTRICT, PENNSYLVANIA Media Contact
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street 215-861-8525
Philadelphia, PA 19106