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Press Release

North Carolina Felon Admits Role In Gun Trafficking Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

CAMDEN, N.J. – A convicted felon from North Carolina today admitted his role in an illegal scheme to buy weapons in Georgia and transport them to New Jersey for resale, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Anthony Doyle, 28, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph Rodriguez in Camden federal court to an information charging him with conspiring to illegally traffic firearms and with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On January 25, 2018, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop in Deptford, New Jersey, of a car that was registered to Doyle. At the time of the traffic stop, Doyle was riding as the front seat passenger in the car. A woman named Anastacia Thomas, 26, who is also from Fayetteville, was driving the car.

During the stop, law enforcement officers observed a Glock handgun in plain view on the front seat passenger floor. This gun was loaded with 14 hollow tip bullets. The officers also observed a firearm box in the backseat of the car, next to a backpack. A search of the car and backpack revealed four additional handguns and two additional firearm boxes.

Law enforcement officers subsequently learned that Thomas had purchased all four of the handguns in the backpack on January 22, 2018, from a pawnshop in Jonesboro, Georgia. In addition, Thomas had purchased several other firearms from that same pawnshop over the course of multiple visits. Doyle had accompanied Thomas to the pawnshop on at least two of those visits.

The investigation revealed that from November 30, 2017, to January 25, 2018, Doyle and Thomas conspired and worked together to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license. Doyle, who was a convicted felon and therefore could not legally purchase firearms, was responsible for selecting the firearms, transporting the firearms up to New Jersey, finding buyers for the firearms, and selling the firearms at a profit. To accomplish these tasks, Doyle used his social media accounts to advertise the firearms for sale, negotiate pricing for the firearms, and arrange the firearm sales. Doyle’s online discussions regarding illegal firearm trafficking are documented in great detail over the course of hundreds of pages of online messages that were analyzed by law enforcement officers.

Meanwhile, Thomas, who was not a felon at the time of the traffic stop, was responsible for purchasing firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers. Thomas also helped Doyle transport the firearms to New Jersey for resale and handled the profits from the resales.

The charge of conspiring to engage in gun trafficking carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Doyle’s sentencing is scheduled for October 28, 2019.

Thomas previously pleaded guilty to her role in the firearm-trafficking conspiracy and her sentencing is scheduled for October 7, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, Newark Field Division, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara A. Aliabadi of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

Defense counsel:
Doyle: Christopher O’Malley Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Camden
Thomas: Paul A. Sarmousakis Esq., Avalon, New Jersey

Updated July 23, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 19-215