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Press Release

Three Additional Individuals Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Firearms Trafficking

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

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Ashan M. Benedict, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing of a Superseding Indictment, charging three additional individuals, JOWAYNE TOMLISON, SEAN KNOTT, and ELIZABETH MCCASKILL, with trafficking in firearms, including the trafficking of firearms from South Carolina to the New York City area.  A fourth defendant, Dayvon Chestnut, was previously arrested and indicted on the same charges.  TOMLISON and KNOTT were arrested today and will be presented today at the United States Courthouse in Manhattan.  MCCASKILL was arrested this afternoon in the District of South Carolina. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “The defendants conspired to put illegal firearms on the streets of New York, increasing the risk of gun violence.  Today, thanks to our partners at the ATF and the NYPD, they face federal charges for their crimes.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan M. Benedict said:  “Protecting Americans from gun violence is central to the ATF mission.  The defendants are alleged to have been part of a ring responsible for numerous illegal firearms out on our city streets.  The ATF/ NYPD Joint Firearms Task Force is committed to disrupting and dismantling trafficking rings and bringing those responsible to justice.  I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for prosecuting this case.”                         

According to the allegations and information in the public record, including the allegations in the Superseding Indictment[1]:

From 2016 to 2018, Chestnut was unlawfully purchasing firearms in South Carolina for resale, and directing others, such as MCCASKILL, to do the same.  In April and May 2018, Chestnut traveled to the New York City area on at least four occasions to distribute those firearms.  TOMLISON and KNOTT obtained firearms from Chestnut for further resale to other individuals.    

*                *                *

All four defendants – Chestnut, 25, of Bishopville, South Carolina, TOMLISON, 28, of Brooklyn, New York, KNOTT, 52, of Queens, New York, and MCCASKILL, 29, of Bishopville, South Carolina, are charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms and firearms trafficking, each of which carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison.            

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the efforts of the ATF and NYPD in this case.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Krissoff in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and the description of the Superseding Indictment forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated November 28, 2018

Topic
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 18-417