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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Two Boston Residents Plead Guilty to Selling Weapons Stolen from U.S. Army Facility in Worcester

BOSTON –  Two individuals pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Worcester in connection with the sale of machineguns and handguns stolen from the U.S. Armey Reserve Center in Worcester.

Tyrone James, 29, and Ashlee Bigsbee, 27, of Dorchester, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess, store and sell stolen firearms; the possession and sale of stolen firearms; and lying to federal agents.  Tyrone James also pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled James’s sentencing for March 16, 2017, and Bigsbee’s sentencing for March 15, 2017.

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

On Nov. 18, 2015, Morales was located and arrested in Long Island, N.Y.  Inside Morales’ vehicle, agents found four of the stolen M-4 Carbines and two of the stolen M-11 handguns.  A fifth M-4 Carbine and two handguns were later turned in to the New York City Police Department by a concerned citizen.  Upon Morales’s arrest he told law enforcement officers that Bigsbee and her boyfriend, who was later identified as James, had assisted him in selling the weapons.

Prior to travelling to New York, on the morning following the robbery, 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 the night before.  Bigsbee and James 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.  Bigsbee 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, Bigsbee 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 Bigsbee one of the M-4 Carbines.  On the night of Nov. 15, 2015, or soon after, Bigsbee 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 and James lied to federal agents concerning their 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 makes them machine guns under federal law.

The charges of being a felon in possession, possession of a machinegun, and possession of stolen weapons provide for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 on each count.  The charges of conspiracy to possess stolen weapons and making false statements provide for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 on each count.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; 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 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 Acting Commissioner Christopher Burke, made the announcement today.   Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274. 

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Updated December 15, 2016