Federal investigators say that three Georgia men and an Essex County woman were all individually charged with’ conspiring to illegally sell firearms’ that authorities say were destined for New Jersey and originated in Georgia.
Federal investigators also claimed to seize more than 40 automatic weapons, including several assault rifles, the press release said.
The cross state network of criminals included Tyheed "Solo" Jefferson, 33, of Albany, Georgia, Carnell Jefferson, 25, of Albany, Mathias Connor, 41, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Nakiya Glenn, 28, of Irvington.
All of these brutal criminals were accused in the gun trafficking scheme as well as with multiple conspiracy charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark announced.
Special Agents said that Tyheed Jefferson, Connor, and Glenn were all part of the widespread gun trafficking ring that used "straw purchasers" to buy and transport firearms in Georgia between January and July.
The ‘straw purchaser’ practice is what law enforcement say involves using a buyer to purchase weapons for another person, who may want to avoid background checks or illegally sell the guns in another state or to be used for crimes.
The United States Attorney's Office said Tyheed Jefferson is also charged with distributing methamphetamine, part of a drug trafficking investigation that was stemming from a May 24th sale of five guns.
Connor is accused of assisting Tyheed Jefferson, with him being identified by prosecutors as the ringleader of the gun trafficking scheme. Law enforcement say that Connor assisted in obtaining, moving and storing the guns in Georgia.
In at least two individual transactions, the guns were sold in Georgia illegally, by knowing the weapons were bound for New Jersey, according to federal authorities to operated the undercover sting. Firearms were also bought in Georgia and resold in New Jersey on at least five cases.
Glenn, the Irvington resident involved, also helped by storing some of those firearms at her residence, federal authorities said.
Carnell Jefferson is said to have purchased multiple firearms at federally-licensed dealers across the state of Georgia on behalf of another conspirator over a two year period of October of 2014 to July of 2016 knowing that the weapons were being illegally sent to New Jersey, according to the investigation. Jefferson was paid $50 per gun transferred.
Special Agents also say that the guns that Jefferson purchased were linked to unspecified "criminal activity" in New Jersey between December of 2014 and January of this year according to the public court records.
Authorities also said they were able to have seized 47 firearms as part of their longstanding probe, which included an assault rifle with a 75-round magazine, semi-automatic handguns, a shotgun, revolvers and numbers of ammunition.
Tyheed Jefferson, Connor, and Glenn were all charged with ‘unlawfully selling firearms to an individual that they knew did not reside in their state of residence’, which is a direct violation of federal laws. Tyheed Jefferson was also charged with ‘possession of a firearm by a convicted felon’, knowing than he had a prior record and still holding a gun.
Carnell Jefferson was charged with ‘conspiracy to engage in the business of unlicensed firearms dealing’ for his involvement in the network of gun trafficking.
Authorities claim that Connor remains at large and there is a widespread manhunt to locate him. Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of Connor is asked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to call (973) 792-3000 to report his whereabouts.
It was not immediately clear if any of those who are facing charges had retained defense lawyers as of yet.