Ringleader of Firearms Conspiracy Convicted in Texas
St. Thomas, USVI – A ringleader of a firearms conspiracy involving more than 30 firearms, six of which were seized from crime scenes in the territory, was found guilty in Texas, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced today.
On February 19, Tyrone Reid, 22, was found guilty of a conspiracy involving numerous co-defendants who lied to federal firearms dealers in the purchase of firearms, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas. The Houston federal jury returned its verdict after three days of trial and approximately two hours of deliberation.
“The conviction of this firearms trafficker would not have occurred without the outstanding inter-agency cooperation by members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations and the Virgin Islands Police Department,” U.S. Attorney Sharpe said. “Indeed, the conviction of Reid will send a message to all in the Virgin Islands and beyond that illegal firearms trafficking will not be tolerated. I commend not only my colleagues in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas for their substantial efforts in the prosecution of this case, but all of the Special Agents and Officers of ATF, HSI and VIPD for their coordinated efforts that made this prosecution a success. My office will continue to work with our federal and local law enforcement partners to do all that we can to stem the illicit flow of firearms into the Virgin Islands.”
Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Reid would induce others to claim that they were the actual buyers of the firearms, even though Reid supplied the money and immediately took possession from the buyers. Testimony revealed that none of the purported buyers kept any of the more than 30 firearms they purchased, many of which were later found at crime scenes, both in the continental United States and Virgin Islands. Of the seven firearms seized in the Virgin Islands, six were seized from crime scenes, including a homicide. Two firearms also were found at New Jersey crime scenes, including an aggravated armed robbery.
According to the evidence presented at trial, Western Union receipts sent from the Virgin Islands
to the continental United States reflected more than $60,000 in payments received by Reid. Three of the firearms were recovered by agents in a search at the home of one of Reid's associates, who also was linked
to money sent from the Virgin Islands to Reid in Houston.
According to U.S. Attorney Magidson, Reid's grandmother traveled to Houston for the trial and testified that Reid sent guns to her in the Virgin Islands. Reid then took the stand on his own behalf and called his grandmother a liar.
Reid’s sentencing is scheduled for May 14, 2013 in Houston, Texas. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Virgin Islands Police Department.