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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Boston Woman Sentenced for Conspiracy to Sell Weapons Stolen from U.S. Army Facility in Worcester

BOSTON – A Boston woman was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Worcester in connection with the sale of machine guns and handguns stolen from the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Worcester.


Ashley Bigsbee, 27, of Dorchester, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman to 21 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release. In January 2016, Bigsbee and two co-defendants, Tyrone James and James Morales, were indicted for conspiracy to possess, store and sell stolen firearms; possession and sale of stolen firearms; and lying to federal agents. In December 2016, Bigsbee pleaded guilty to all charges.


On the night of Nov. 14, 2015, co-defendant James Morales allegedly broke into a weapons vault inside the Lincoln Stoddard United States Army Reserve Center in Worcester and stole six M-4 Carbines and ten M-11 handguns.


The following morning, Morales visited Bigsbee and James at their home in Dorchester and proposed that they assist him with selling a number of the weapons he had stolen and they agreed to do so.


Bigsbee and James then contacted numerous individuals via text message offering to sell the firearms for well below the market and street value. and James’s phones were later found to contain text messages evidencing these efforts along with photographs which depicted: the stolen weapons lying on the kitchen table of their Dorchester apartment; Bigsbee holding one of the stolen M-11 handguns; and two of the stolen M-11 handguns lying on their bed. Through their efforts, and James arranged for Morales to sell a number of the handguns, and conducted the sales in their apartment on Nov. 15, 2015. In exchange for their assistance with selling the stolen weapons, Morales gave James and one of the M-4 Carbines. On the night of Nov. 15, 2015, or soon after, and/or James put the weapon in a duffle bag and brought it to the home of an acquaintance on Kingsdale Street in Dorchester who agreed to store the duffle bag.


During an interview on Nov. 20, 2015, Bigsbee lied to federal agents concerning her knowledge of the sale of the firearms. Following her arrest on Nov. 27, 2015, Bigsbee arranged to contact the acquaintance from Kingsdale Street asking him to leave the duffle bag outside on the sidewalk for police. Bigsbee then directed agents to Kingsdale Street, where the final M-4 Carbine was recovered from a duffle bag on the sidewalk. The M-4 Carbine is a military weapon capable of firing a three bullet “burst” for each single pull of the trigger, which classifies it as a machine gun under federal law.


During the sentencing hearing, the government argued that Bigsbee, while a person with a limited criminal record who had not previously been incarcerated, deserved a significant prison sentence in light of her efforts to assist with sale of the stolen firearms, including the machineguns.


Co-defendant Tyrone James is scheduled to be sentenced on March 24, 2017 and James Morales is scheduled for trial on April 10, 2017.


Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins; and Cambridge Police Commissioner Brent Larrabee, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Weinreb’s Worcester Branch Office prosecuted the case.


The charges against Morales are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the court of law.

Updated March 16, 2017