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Press Release

International Gun Traffickers Who Acquired Guns in South Carolina Sentenced to Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Marlon Michael Bruff, of Fairburn, Georgia, Ramaro Alsworth Higgins, of Los Angeles, California, and Reuben Dunn, of Anderson, South Carolina, were sentenced to federal prison for helping to run a gun trafficking operation, which bought guns in multiple southern states and smuggled them into Canada. Bruff and Higgins were also convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. Four other defendants have also been convicted and sentenced in connection with the case.

Evidence presented to the court showed that in June of 2021, an officer with the Duncan Police Department stopped a Sprinter van traveling north on Interstate 85. A search of the van revealed suitcases containing 73 pistols, including 39 guns with obliterated serial numbers. The driver of the vehicle claimed that she was transporting personal protective equipment (PPE) for APA Logistics, a company owned by Bruff, which was used as a front for criminal activities. Investigators also discovered hidden compartments in the van, which contained marijuana. Bruff was driving alongside the van in a separate vehicle and was not initially arrested.

Over the course of a multi-year investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), law enforcement learned that Bruff, Higgins, Dunn, and several others were involved in a scheme to buy guns in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina and to smuggle them across the border into Canada, where several of the guns have been recovered in connection with violent crimes. Members of the conspiracy also obtained marijuana from Canada, which was sold in the United States and used to fund the purchase of additional guns. Bruff and Higgins recruited straw purchasers and traveled throughout the United States to transport the guns and traffic marijuana. In May of 2021, they were stopped in North Carolina with over 20 pounds of marijuana and over $37,000.00 in cash. Dunn assisted the organization by acquiring guns, which the smugglers picked up from his home in Anderson, South Carolina. 

“South Carolina will play no part in illegal gun trafficking,” said Adair F. Boroughs, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. “Our office will continue to work to ensure the safety of our community and our neighbors.”

“Illegal firearms trafficking is a serious threat to communities everywhere,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Bennie Mims. “ATF and our law enforcement partners continue to make the prevention of illegal firearms sales a top priority. Stopping illegal firearms sales and disrupting gun trafficking networks plays a critical role in preventing violent gun crime and keeping neighborhoods safe.” 

United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins sentenced Bruff to 120 months in prison, Higgins to 48 months in prison, and Dunn to 27 months in prison, with all of the sentences to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.  There is no parole in the federal system.

The investigation was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Duncan Police Department, and several Canadian law enforcement agencies. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Schoen is prosecuting the case.


*Note: an earlier version of this release included reference to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in error. It has been removed. 


MEDIA CONTACT:   Veronica Hill, Public Affairs Specialist, U.S. Attorney’s Office,, (803) 929-3000

Updated May 29, 2024