ATLANTA – A previously deported undocumented alien with a violent criminal history, and a former school paraprofessional who fatally abandoned a dog in a hot car while straw purchasing firearms, have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in trafficking guns later used in shootings.
“Firearms traffickers fuel gun violence in our communities placing citizens at risk of injury and death,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Our office is committed to partnering with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to pursue and prosecute criminals whose disregard for life contributes to the illegal flow of guns onto our streets.”
“Although we are very pleased with the success of this operation, unfortunately this operation highlights the persistence of illegal firearms trafficking and demonstrates that this type of crime is real, extant, and must be continuously battled,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alicia Jones. “ATF will continue to work alongside our federal, state and local partners in furtherance of reducing gun crime.”
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges, and other information presented in court: Between February 2022 and June 2022, DeAndre Cannon purchased nearly four dozen firearms on behalf of Conroy Samuels, a convicted felon and undocumented alien, who was living under the assumed identity of “Justin Sheffield.” Samuels used this alias after he served a prison term and was deported from the United States following a conviction for attempted murder.
Cannon, to perpetrate the firearms trafficking scheme with Samuels, falsely represented to federally licensed firearms dealers in the metro-Atlanta area that he was the actual purchaser of the firearms even though he was buying the guns for Samuels and with Samuels’s money. In this way, Cannon sometimes illegally purchased up to 17 firearms in a week. After he received the guns from Cannon, Samuels would distribute them to others. At least two of the firearms that passed from Cannon to Samuels were recovered in Connecticut and linked to multiple shooting incidents in that state.
Cannon and Samuels’s crime spree ended on June 15, 2022, after ATF special agents saw Cannon receive money from Samuels and enter and exit a Jonesboro, Georgia, pawn shop. Although the temperature that day exceeded 95 degrees, Cannon left a dog inside his car for approximately an hour and a half while he straw purchased guns at the pawn shop. When agents encountered Cannon later, they saw that Cannon’s pet was suffering from extreme heat stress. The dog later died despite receiving emergency treatment from Clayton County animal control officers.
On August 2, 2023, Conroy Samuels, also known as “Justin Sheffield,” 50, of Kingston, Jamaica, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross to four years, nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Samuels was convicted of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, conspiracy to make false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer, and reentry after deportation after he pleaded guilty on April 20, 2023.
On September 20, 2023, DeAndre Cannon, 34, of Woodstock, Georgia, was sentenced by Judge Ross to four years, two months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Cannon was convicted of conspiracy to make false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer after he pleaded guilty on June 1, 2023.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with assistance from the Clayton County Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Leanne M. Marek and Theodore S. Hertzberg prosecuted the case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.
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.