Remarks as Delivered
I am joined today by ATF Deputy Director Marvin Richardson, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad Meacham, ATF Dallas Special Agent in Charge Jeff Boshek, and ATF Dallas Task Force Officer Lance Amos.
The Justice Department is leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to protect communities from violent crime and the gun violence that often drives it.
As part of the Department-wide anti-violent crime strategy that we launched last year, we are marshalling the resources of every one of our U.S. Attorneys’ offices, law enforcement agencies, grant-making entities, and other components to work in partnership with state and local law enforcement to disrupt violent crime.
We are cracking down on the criminal gun-trafficking pipelines that flood our communities with illegal [guns]. We have set up strike forces to disrupt those networks from start to finish — from wherever illegal guns originate, to wherever they are used to commit violent crimes.
And we have instructed our federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents to prioritize prosecutions of those who are responsible for the greatest gun violence. Those include repeat offenders who are the major drivers of violent crime. They also include those who illegally traffic in firearms and those who act as straw purchasers.
The case we are announcing today is just one example of those efforts.
Today, the Justice Department is announcing an indictment in the Northern District of Texas, charging an individual with illegally dealing in firearms. Law enforcement ultimately recovered those guns in multiple cities in Texas; in Baltimore, Maryland; and in Canada.
The defendant was arrested last Friday, June 10, and has been charged with one count of dealing in firearms without a license and three counts of making false statements during the purchase of a firearm.
The indictment charges that the defendant purchased at least 92 firearms — primarily handguns — from federally licensed firearms dealers.
It alleges that 75 of those firearms were purchased from a single dealer in the span of just six months. That dealer has relinquished its Federal Firearms License to ATF.
The indictment also states that law enforcement recovered 16 of the firearms in incidents including homicide, aggravated assault, and drug trafficking.
Almost all of those guns were recovered in incidents occurring within one year of purchase. At least one of those guns was recovered by law enforcement seven days — just one week — after it was bought.
Data from ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network — also called NIBIN — showed that the firearms the defendant allegedly purchased were linked to multiple shootings in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. One of the firearms originally purchased by the defendant was linked to two separate aggravated assaults and one incident of unlawful carrying of a firearm.
The indictment also charges that three separate times over a three-month period last year, the defendant falsely stated to a federal firearms licensee that he was the actual transferee and buyer of the firearms — when in fact he was not. Those firearms included a Taurus 9-millimeter pistol, a Glock 9-millimeter pistol, and a Glock 40-caliber pistol.
The investigation is ongoing.
I want to thank and recognize the prosecutors and law enforcement teams across the Department whose exceptional work resulted in this indictment, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas and ATF’s Dallas Field Division.
As I said, this case is just one example of the efforts the Justice Department is taking to protect our communities from violent crime, and from the illegal gun trafficking that often drives it.
Just last month, in the Southern District of New York, we charged a couple who are alleged to have purchased 68 guns as part of an interstate gun trafficking conspiracy.
Earlier this year, in the Central District of California, we charged an individual with illegally selling 89 firearms, including 53 ghost guns, as well as nearly 16 pounds of methamphetamine.
Earlier this year, in the District of Connecticut, we charged an individual who purchased at least 18 firearms in Georgia — and who had others purchase even more on his behalf. He then illegally provided them to individuals in Connecticut. Some of those firearms ended up in the hands of gang members.
Also this year, in the District of Maryland, we charged four individuals after they allegedly sold an undercover officer 24 [firearms], including 20 ghost guns — as well as confirmed and suspected machine gun conversion devices, several of which had been 3D printed.
And in April of this year, I announced a superseding indictment charging 12 individuals with conspiracy to illegally traffic over 90 guns across state lines into the City of Chicago. In that case, the trafficked guns were linked to a mass shooting and other shootings in the Chicago area, in which multiple people were injured and several killed.
As these examples make very clear: if you put illegal guns on our streets, or into the hands of violent offenders, the Justice Department will spare no resource to hold you accountable.
The Justice Department is committed to doing our part to end the plague of gun violence.
And we strongly support Congress’s efforts to do so as well.
In recent weeks, mass shooting after mass shooting has taken the lives of children in their classrooms, beloved community members doing their grocery shopping, and worshippers gathering at church.
So, as our agents and prosecutors work to get crime guns out of our communities, we are also committed to doing everything we can to support the bipartisan gun safety negotiations that are taking place in Congress as we speak.
Finally, the case we announced today illustrates the critical role that ATF plays in battling gun violence and saving lives. ATF needs permanent leadership to carry on that fight. And we urge the Senate to act swiftly to confirm the President’s nominee, Steve Dettelbach, to serve as Director of ATF. Our agents and ATF’s critical mission deserve nothing less.
I am now pleased to turn the program over to the United States Attorney, Chad Meacham.