ATF Weekly News

For the week of July 18, 2022

From the Department of Justice

Office of the Attorney General- Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Delivers Remarks at the Investiture of ATF Director Steven M. Dettelbach (speech): “Last month, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of ATF’s founding as an independent agency. Today, I am thrilled to mark another historic day for ATF – the investiture of Steve Dettelbach as the agency’s second-ever Senate-confirmed Director.”

Office of the Associate Attorney General - Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke Delivers Keynote Speech at the NAACP Annual Convention: Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Memorial Luncheon: “The NAACP has spent the last 113 years guiding us through moments of turbulence and demonstrating that we need the light of justice more than ever. It is the NAACP that fought lynching, racial segregation, white supremacy and racial violence. It is the NAACP that has fought for voting rights and racial justice. So, before I go further, I want to thank the NAACP for undertaking work that has helped to make our nation a more just and equitable place.”

Drug Enforcement Agency – Columbia Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Drug and Firearms Crimes: Evidence presented to the Court showed that, on December 6, 2017, federal agents and task force officers with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta-Carolinas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (ACHIDTA) and investigators with the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office and Richland County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant on a hotel room shared by Pitt and a co-defendant, who were targets in a drug operation.  Law enforcement located various controlled substances including approximately 179 grams of pure methamphetamine in a substance that weighed more than 380 grams and recovered a Smith & Wesson Model “669” 9mm pistol inside a duffle bag with a luggage tag bearing Pitt’s name.

Federal Bureau of Investigation - Justice Department Seizes and Forfeits Approximately $500,000 from North Korean Ransomware Actors and their Conspirators: According to court documents, in May 2021, North Korean hackers used a ransomware strain called Maui to encrypt the files and servers of a medical center in the District of Kansas. After more than a week of being unable to access encrypted servers, the Kansas hospital paid approximately $100,000 in Bitcoin to regain the use of their computers and equipment. Because the Kansas medical center notified the FBI and cooperated with law enforcement, the FBI was able to identify the never-before-seen North Korean ransomware and trace the cryptocurrency to China-based money launderers.


From the ATF

Monday, July 18, 2022 

Detroit Field Division- Northern Michigan Man Pleads Guilty to Leaving Pipe Bombs at Cell Phone Stores: A Whittemore, Michigan, resident pleaded guilty today to two separate criminal cases related to the placement of explosive packages outside cellphone stores in Cheboygan, and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, announced Eastern District of Michigan United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison and Western District of Michigan United States Attorney Mark Totten.

Denver Field Division- Cheyenne Man Sentenced on Federal Firearm Charge: On October 7, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security intercepted an illegal firearm suppressor being shipped into the United States from China. The shipping label identified Unocic and his address. Law enforcement conducted a controlled delivery of the suppressor to Unocic. The delivery was immediately followed by the execution of a search warrant at Unocic’s residence in Cheyenne, which resulted in the seizure of multiple firearms, ammunition, and the suppressor.

Boston Field Division- Somersworth Man Sentenced to 39 Months on a Charge of Possession of an Improvised Explosive Bomb: “This investigation is an example of the hard work of ATF special agents and the excellent cooperation we have with our law enforcement partners,” said James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Boston Field Division. “Because of this cooperation, we were able to seize these dangerous destructive devices and ensured they never found their way into our communities.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2022 

Tampa Field Division- Fort Myers Convicted Felon Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition: U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell has sentenced Serdarryel Dave English, Jr. (39, Fort Myers) to six years in federal prison for possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. The court also ordered English to forfeit the firearm and ammunition used in the offense. English had pleaded guilty on March 17, 2022. 

Columbus Field Division- Domestic Abuser and Repeat Felon Sentenced to 51 Months in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearm: According to documents and evidence presented in court, in March 2021 law enforcement officers learned there was an outstanding warrant to arrest Long for domestic battery. Long was also wanted for questioning in a homicide. Long was located by detectives on April 2, 2021, at a hotel on east 21st Street, in Indianapolis. Investigators saw Long exit the hotel with a firearm in his waistband and get into a vehicle. Long was taken into custody. Detectives recovered the gun from Long and determined that it had been reported as stolen. 

Washington Field Division- Two Convicted Felons Plead Guilty to Possessing Firearms: According to court documents, from October 2021 through January 2022, Brian Ellis, 28, and Raymond Wyche, 30, were buying and selling firearms as convicted felons. Wyche was serving a federal term of supervised release from a previous federal conviction for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

Kansas City Field Division- 18 Defendants Indicted for Meth Conspiracy: According to court documents, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Hall’s residence on April 28, 2022, as part of an ongoing methamphetamine investigation. Officers seized seven pounds of methamphetamine, a Taurus 9mm semi-automatic pistol, approximately $57,000 in cash, and drug paraphernalia used for the packaging and sale of methamphetamine.

St. Paul Field Division- Sioux Falls Man Facing Multiple Firearm Charges After Sioux Falls Robberies: The Indictment alleges that on or about March 29, 2022, in Sioux Falls, Roberts unlawfully obstructed, delayed, and affected commerce and the movement of articles and commodities in such commerce, by robbery when he unlawfully took and obtained cash from the Get-n-Go, against the will of the employees by means of actual and threatened force, violence, and fear of injury immediate and future to their person when he brandished a firearm during this crime of violence, demanded money, and forcibly took the money.

Baltimore Field Division- Final Cherry Hill Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Participating in Racketeering Conspiracy Including Murdering an Individual Believed To Be a Rival Gang Member: Travis Alewine, a/k/a “Sticks,” age 30, of Baltimore, Maryland pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise in connection with his membership in the “Hillside” gang, operating in the Cherry Hill neighborhood of Baltimore.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

St. Paul Field Division- Hugo Man Pleads Guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, Firearms Violations: According to court documents, on March 1, 2022, law enforcement responded to the Robbinsdale and Crystal area after receiving multiple calls of shots fired in the vicinity. Officers apprehended Brannen Michael Stafford, 34, who was armed with a fully automatic, Glock 17 nine-millimeter handgun tucked in his waistband. Police found several nine-millimeter shell casings on Highway 100 in the same vicinity. Officers later searched a Ford F-150 that Stafford and another man had been driving. They seized another Glock nine-millimeter handgun, 100 rounds of nine-millimeter ammunition, and approximately six pounds of methamphetamine.

Boston Field Division- Lowell Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Illegal Firearm Charges: Juan Aparicio, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris to seven years in prison and three years of supervised release. On Feb. 10, 2022, Aparicio pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Washington Field Division- California Pair Indicted for Supplying Fentanyl Linked To Wise County Teen Overdoses: The grand jury has charged Alexander Ortiz, 25, of Fullerton, Calif., and Jorge Efrain Perez Jr., 24, of Anaheim, Calif., each with one count of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl which resulted in serious bodily injury to two juvenile victims. In addition, Ortiz is charged with one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Columbus Field Division- Washington, Indiana Drug Dealer Sentenced to 46 Months in Federal Prison for Dealing Methamphetamine and Illegal Possession of Firearms: Matthew V. Palmer-Coy, 26, of Washington, Ind., was sentenced late yesterday to 46 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to possession of a firearm and ammunition by a prohibited person and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

Baltimore Field Division- Baltimore Fentanyl Dealer Sentenced to Over Seven Years in Federal Prison for Selling Fentanyl and Other Narcotics to Customers Across Four States: As part of their investigation, law enforcement conducted numerous controlled narcotics purchases from Cunningham and his co-conspirators.  In four of the controlled purchases, Cunningham either distributed or participated in the distribution of narcotics, including fentanyl, to a confidential informant.  For example, on July 24, 2018, Cunningham and an accomplice sold less than two grams of a mixture containing fentanyl and heroin to a confidential informant for $200.

Thursday July 21, 2022

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