Two Charged in Gun Trafficking Conspiracy
WASHINGTON – Kofi Appiah-Mainoo, 30, of Temple Hills, Maryland, and James Hutchings, Jr., 38, of Waldorf, Maryland, were arrested on November 5, 2019, on a federal charge stemming from an ongoing investigation into the trafficking of firearms into the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu, Timothy M. Dunham, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Washington Field Office, Criminal Division, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) made the announcement.
The charges were filed in an indictment unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The investigation began after law enforcement recovered multiple firearms in a residence located at 4215 Foote Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. on December 19, 2018. Along with the firearms, law enforcement seized more than 44 kilograms of heroin laced with fentanyl, more than 50 pounds of marijuana, and drug paraphernalia located throughout the home. Linwood Douglas Thorne, of Northeast, Washington, D.C. was arrested in connection with that incident and is charged by indictment in a separate case (18-cr-389) (BAH).
Law enforcement continued to investigate the source of the firearms and determined that three of the firearms were purchased earlier in 2018 in Columbus, Georgia. ATF and FBI determined that Appiah, a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army, purchased the firearms, coordinated their transfer to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and sold them to Hutchings, Jr., who acted as a courier once the firearms were brought north. Hutchings, Jr., a person previously convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, is considered a prohibited person and is legally prohibited from possessing any firearm.
“This investigation is another example of our determination to disrupt and prosecute the trafficking of guns and drugs into the District of Columbia,” said U.S. Attorney Liu. “Through this coordinated law enforcement effort, we were able to remove deadly narcotics from the street and identify firearms traffickers who enable such dangerous conduct.”
This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide crime-reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts.
The Office has partnered with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, and ATF in an effort to address a significant source of illegal firearms in the District. This collaborative approach allows the Office to identify specific incidents and trends in the District, which provides an avenue to prevent and deter gun violence.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
In announcing the charges, U.S. Attorney Liu, Special Agent in Charge Benedict, and Special Agent in Charge Dunham commended the work of those who investigated the case, including ATF and FBI. They also expressed appreciation for the assistance provided by the U.S. Marshals Service, Prince George’s County, Md. Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland. Finally, they commended the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, who assisted in the arrest of Appiah.
Finally, they cited the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Rosen and Andrea Duvall of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Section, Paralegal Specialist Teesha Tobias, Kim Hall, Catherine O’Neal, and Legal Assistant Emma Atlas.