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Press Release

North Carolina Woman Admits Role In Gun Trafficking Scheme

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

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

Anastacia Thomas, 26, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph Rodriguez in Camden federal court to an information charging her with conspiring to illegally traffic firearms.

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

On Jan. 25, 2018, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop in Deptford, New Jersey, of a car registered to Anthony Doyle, 28, also of Fayetteville, North Carolina. Doyle was riding as the front seat passenger while Thomas was driving. The 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 the four handguns in the backpack on Jan. 22, 2018, from a pawnshop in Jonesboro, Georgia. Thomas had purchased several additional firearms from that same pawnshop over the course of multiple visits, and Doyle accompanied Thomas to the pawnshop on at least two of those visits.

Law enforcement officers learned that from Nov. 30, 2017, to Jan. 25, 2018, Doyle and Thomas conspired and worked together to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license. Thomas was responsible for purchasing firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers; Doyle used social media to advertise firearms for sale, negotiate pricing, and arrange transactions. Doyle discussed the various firearm transactions in great detail over the course of hundreds of pages of online messages that were analyzed by law enforcement officers.

The charge of conspiring to engage in gun trafficking carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 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.

Charges against Doyle remain pending. Those charges are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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

Updated June 25, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 19-185