Nine Indicted on Gun Trafficking & Weapons Charges
Attorney General Paula T. Dow today announced indictments against nine individuals, including a man who allegedly was bringing guns from Virginia to sell to gang members in Trenton, and a Glassboro man who allegedly was illegally selling assault weapons. The indictments stem from a historic partnership involving the New Jersey State Police, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Division of Criminal Justice and other agencies to trace crime guns and investigate those illicitly trafficking guns in New Jersey.
The Division of Criminal Justice obtained an indictment charging Trayle Beasley, 29, of Trenton, with leading a network that trafficked guns to Trenton from the Eastern Shore of Virginia, including guns recovered in connection with several homicide investigations and a narcotics investigation. Three Virginia men and a New Jersey man are charged with conspiring with him. Beasley is charged with leading a gun trafficking network, a first-degree crime which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
A second indictment charges a Glassboro man with selling assault weapons to an undercover trooper, and possessing a machine gun and assault rifles in his home. Two more indictments charge a Fort Dix soldier with unlawfully disposing of two handguns he brought to New Jersey from Texas, and mailing a third gun from Texas to two co-defendants in New Jersey.
The indictments resulted from investigations led by the New Jersey State Police – ATF Joint Firearms Task Force and Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. The task force includes members of the Trenton Police Department, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. The task force also worked with the Hamilton Police Department (Mercer County), East Windsor Police Department, Glassboro Police Department, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, and officers from the Eastern Shore Drug Task Force in Virginia, including members of the Virginia State Police, the Northampton County Sheriff’s Department and the Accomack County Sheriff’s Department.
Two of the cases resulted from NJ Trace, a first-in-the-nation partnership of the Attorney General’s Office, State Police and ATF to trace crime guns recovered in New Jersey using ATF’s national eTrace information system. An Attorney General directive requires that information on all guns seized by police in New Jersey be entered into the system for tracking within 24 hours.
According to ATF statistics, approximately 75 percent of the guns that were recovered by police in New Jersey in 2009 and traced to their state of origin came from outside of New Jersey. Approximately 16 percent – the largest share of any other state – came from Pennsylvania, followed by Virginia, which was the source of 9 percent of the guns. Texas ranked ninth among the source states, with 55 guns originating there.
According to Director Taylor, Beasley was indicted by a state grand jury on Friday, May 21. The indictment stems from an investigation by the State Police – ATF Joint Firearms Task Force, Trenton Police Department, Hamilton (Mercer County) Police Department, East Windsor Police Department, Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and Eastern Shore Drug Task Force in Virginia.
Four other men were charged with second-degree conspiracy and other offenses for allegedly conspiring with Beasley to transport guns into New Jersey illegally, or to unlawfully possess or dispose of guns in New Jersey. They are:
■Amoi Smith, 21, of Cranbury;
■Johnathan Johnson, 28, of Cape Charles, Va.;
■Bobby Lee Henderson, 24, of Townsend, Va.; and
■Larry Nottingham, 28, of Eastville, Va.
It is alleged that Beasley was selling guns to drug dealers and gang members in Trenton. He allegedly solicited individuals in the Eastern Shore of Virginia to provide him with guns. Growing up, Beasley lived in both New Jersey and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Beasley allegedly preferred to deal in revolvers because they do not leave shell casings at crime scenes.
Beasley is charged specifically in connection with 12 guns, including eight handguns, two shotguns and two rifles. Five of the guns were seized by the Maryland State Police on Nov. 16, 2008, when they executed a search warrant for Beasley’s car after stopping him as he drove north on Route 13 in Worcester County, Md. Beasley served a one-year prison sentence in Maryland for unlawful possession of those guns, which included a shotgun and four handguns. The other seven guns were recovered by police in New Jersey in connection with crimes. The investigation into Beasley stemmed from intelligence gathered through the NJ Trace program.
It is alleged that Johnson would either purchase or gather weapons for Beasley or would coordinate meetings for Beasley, during which Beasley would purchase weapons from others in the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Beasley allegedly bought guns with money, marijuana or other narcotics. Henderson and Nottingham alleged sold guns that Beasley transported or attempted to transport to New Jersey. Smith allegedly traveled to Virginia with Beasley on trips to get guns. Beasley and Smith are also charged in a pending indictment obtained by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office in connection with an armed robbery in East Windsor in March 2009.
Beasley is being held in the Mercer County Jail with bail set at $250,000 cash. Arrest warrants were issued for the other four defendants in connection with the indictment.
Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison and a $150,000 fine. In addition to the second-degree conspiracy count against all five defendants, Beasley and Johnson each face numerous other second-degree counts. Smith and Henderson each face one second-degree count of either transportation or attempted transportation of a firearm into New Jersey for unlawful sale or transfer. Beasley and Nottingham are charged with fourth-degree unlawful disposition of a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. Beasley is charged with four counts, and Nottingham with one.
According to Director Taylor, Horace Dixon Jr., 49, of Glassboro, is charged in a May 20 state grand jury indictment in connection with 11 guns, including one machine gun, six semi-automatic rifles, three semi-automatic pistols, and one shotgun. He allegedly sold four of the guns to an undercover State Police detective, and the other seven guns were seized when investigators executed search warrants for his car and home.
Dixon was arrested by state troopers on Aug. 13, 2009, in the parking lot of a bowling alley on Route 47 in Glassboro as a result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police – ATF Joint Firearms Task Force, Glassboro Police Department and Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office. Dixon was allegedly at the location to sell guns to an undercover State Police detective.
In early July, the Glassboro Police Department learned of two assault rifles for sale and contacted the ATF. As a result, a State Police detective acting undercover as part of the Joint Firearms Task Force allegedly arranged to purchase weapons from Dixon. When purchasing the guns, the undercover detective allegedly indicated to Dixon that he planned to deface the serial numbers on the guns and sell them on the street.
It is alleged that on July 17, 2009, Dixon sold the undercover detective two guns for $3,000, a 7.62 x 39 mm FEG semi-automatic rifle and a .233-caliber Norinco semi-automatic rifle. He allegedly included three large-capacity ammunition magazines for the Norinco rifle. It is alleged that on Aug. 7, 2009, Dixon sold two more guns to the undercover detective for $2,000, a .380-caliber Bersa semi-automatic pistol and a .223-caliber Romarm semi-automatic rifle. He allegedly included a large-capacity magazine for the Romarm rifle.
When Dixon was arrested, police executed a search warrant for his car and seized a .45-caliber Sig Sauer semi-automatic pistol, a .380-caliber Star semi-automatic pistol, a 12-gauge Shandong 1st Machine Works pump action shotgun, a 7.62 x 39 mm Romarm semi-automatic rifle, and a large-capacity magazine for the Romarm rifle.
A search warrant executed at Dixon’s home allegedly yielded a grenade launcher and more than 60 guns, including three guns that are charged in the indictment: a Deutsche Waffen Munitionsfabriken water-cooled, belt-fed machine gun, a .223-caliber Ruger semi-automatic rifle, and a 7.62 x 39 mm Norinco semi-automatic rifle.
Dixon was charged in the 25-count indictment with one count of unlawful possession of a machine gun (2nd degree), five counts of unlawful possession of an assault firearm (2nd degree), three counts of unlawful possession of a handgun (2nd degree), two counts of unlawful disposition of an assault firearm (3rd degree), four counts of unlawful possession of a rifle (3rd degree), one count of unlawful possession of a shotgun (3rd degree), seven counts of possession of a prohibited weapon (4th degree), and two counts of unlawful disposition of a firearm (4th degree).
Second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine. The second-degree counts of unlawful possession of a handgun and unlawful possession of a machine gun each carry a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of three to five years in prison. The third-degree offenses carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, including a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed, and a $15,000 fine. Fourth-degree offenses carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Dixon is currently free on bail.
William James Ivery, 30, a member of the U.S. Army who is currently stationed at Fort Dix, was charged in a state grand jury indictment returned on Tuesday, May 25, with one count of third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and one count of fourth-degree unlawful disposition of a firearm. It is alleged that Ivery purchased two Jennings .380-caliber handguns in Texas, while stationed there, and later disposed of them unlawfully in New Jersey. One of them was recovered from a stolen vehicle in New Brunswick.
A second indictment returned on Tuesday, May 25, charges Ivery and two other men, Ronald Blakely Jr., 29, of Hamilton, and Abdul Smith, 28, of Trenton. It is alleged that Ivery, at Blakely’s request, mailed a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun that he purchased in Texas to an address in Maple Shade, N.J., where Blakely and Smith allegedly retrieved it. The Trenton Police arrested Smith in possession of the gun on March 9, 2008. In connection with that arrest, Smith is charged in a pending indictment obtained by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office with second-degree possession of a gun as a convicted felon and fourth-degree possession of hollow-point bullets.
The state grand jury indictment charges Ivery, Blakely and Smith with third-degree conspiracy, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison. In addition, it charges Ivery and Blakely with fourth-degree unlawful disposition of a firearm, and charges Blakely and Smith with third-degree unlawful possession of a weapon and fourth-degree violation of firearm regulations.
Bail is set at $50,000 for Smith, $40,000 for Ivery, and $35,000 for Blakely.