Gun traffickers arrested for allegedly using the Dark Net to export guns across the world
ATLANTA – Gerren Johnson and William Jackson have been arraigned on federal charges of dealing in firearms without a license, smuggling goods from the United States to other countries, and illegal delivery of firearms to a common carrier. The defendants allegedly exported guns illegally to buyers all over the world.
“Johnson and Jackson are charged with using underground Internet websites to illegally sell firearms to individuals in over a dozen foreign countries,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn. “Relying on the anonymity of the Internet, these defendants hoped to circumvent federal firearms laws.”
“Organized criminal groups often rely on the availability of weapons to carry out their activities; thus, the market for illegal firearms around the world. ATF will aggressively and acutely target any individuals who seek to diminish the general welfare of our communities with illegal firearms trafficking,” said Wayne Dixie, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Atlanta Field Division.
According to U.S. Attorney John Horn, the charges and other information presented in court: In June 2013, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and other agencies began investigating an international firearms trafficking scheme in which individuals utilized a Dark Net website called Blackmarket Reloaded (BMR). The individuals used the usernames CherryFlavor and WorldWide Arms. The investigation revealed that firearms posted for sale on this website were sold to persons outside the United States, and were shipped to buyers from the United States hidden inside electronic items. Some of the countries to which packages were shipped include Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Federal search warrants, coupled with trace interviews, allegedly connected all firearms recovered from original purchasers in the Atlanta area, to the defendants. The defendants had been acquiring firearms legally from the OutDoorTraders website, and later reselling the firearms on underground websites including BMR, Utopia, and Agora Market.
Also, shipping information for over 50 suspected parcels was disseminated to investigators in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Intelligence analysis, as well as a massive audit of internationally-shipped parcels originating from several suspect U.S. Post Offices, resulted in the identification of the individuals in the CherryFlavor group. Three defendants; Sherman Jackson, Brendan Person, and Gerren Johnson, were located in Atlanta, Georgia. A fourth defendant, William Jackson, lived in East Point, Georgia.
Gerren Johnson, 28, of Austell, Georgia, was arraigned on May 24, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker. William Jackson, 29, East Point, Georgia, was arraigned on May 30, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Justin Anand. Both were indicted by a federal grand jury on May 3, 2017. Sherman, Jackson and Brendan Person previously were arrested, and both have entered pleas of guilty.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracia King and Stephanie Smith are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.