Wilmington Man Convicted of Purchasing Guns for Charged Juvenile Gang Members
WILMINGTON, Del. – Charles M. Oberly III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that Darius Jamal Shields-Dryden (“Shields-Dryden”) pled guilty yesterday to a five-count Information charging him with making material false statements to federally licensed firearms dealers in connection with the acquisition of guns. Shields-Dryden, age 26, from Wilmington, Delaware, is accused of purchasing multiple guns for juveniles. Each time Dryden bought a gun, he falsely claimed to be purchasing the weapon for himself. Shields-Dryden faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
According to publicly filed documents and statements made in open court, Shields-Dryden purchased five guns between April 30, 2016 and May 16, 2016. Surveillance footage from the gun stores shows Shields-Dryden accompanied by several juveniles alleged to be members of the violent Wilmington street gang Only My Brothers (“OMB”). A number of those same juveniles are charged with gang participation and other offenses in the Superior Court of the State of Delaware. Two of the alleged OMB members who were with Shields-Dryden in the gun stores were later arrested in possession of guns Dryden bought, as laid out below.
Shields-Dryden purchased a firearm on May 16, 2016, which was later discovered in the possession of an alleged OMB member charged with using shooting a man with that gun during a May 17, 2016 robbery attempt. Another of the guns Shields-Dryden purchased was recovered in the possession of a different juvenile; photographs and videos on that juvenile’s phone show the juvenile and his brother holding three additional firearms purchased by Shields-Dryden.
United States Attorney Oberly stated, “The individuals who knowingly purchase firearms that are turned over to juveniles or others who are prohibited from possessing firearms are as morally guilty of the crimes committed by those who are provided firearms, which are then used in murders, assaults, robberies, and other crimes. In these situations, these so-called straw purchasers should expect to be prosecuted and sentenced to prison. If fewer juveniles or felons are able to obtain firearms in this manner, the streets of Wilmington will be safer and lives will be saved.”
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Wilmington Police Department. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer K. Welsh, District of Delaware.