A College Park man has been sentenced to three years ad ten months in federal, plus three years supervised release, after pleading guilty to his part in a gun-running operation to Barbados.
Rashad Sargeant, 27 along with David Johnson, 31, of Belleville, IL and Shunquez Stephens, 28, of Flowery Branch, were convicted for their roles in the operation.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Sargeant and Stephens would remove the serial numbers from at least 30 firearms, packe them in boxes with false compartments, and use fake identification to send the packages via FedEx, DHL, and UPS to Barbados. Johnson had recruited Stephens to act as a straw purchaser, which is also illegal. Stephens and other buyers falsely swore that they were buying the firearms for themselves.
All three men pleaded guilty.
Johnson was previously sentenced on March 17, 2022, and sentenced to three years, ten months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty on July 22, 2021.
Stephens was previously sentenced on September 30, 2021, and sentenced to three years of probation after pleading guilty on June 21, 2021.
“Firearms trafficking fuels violence in communities within the United States and abroad,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “We will continue to actively leverage partnerships with federal, state, local, and international law enforcement partners to stem the illegal flow of firearms.”
“This case and ultimate conviction highlights the fact that illegal gun trafficking not only affects our local communities but has implications far beyond our borders” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Alicia Jones. “At a time when gun crime is on the rise, this case reinforces the need for ATF and our partners to be vigilant in investigating and prosecuting individuals who supply both the domestic and international illegal arms trade.”
“Disrupting the flow of illegal guns inevitably saves lives and reduces overall crime, so I’m glad we were able to stop this scheme to illegally export guns to Barbados,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Cases like this highlight the great results that can be achieved when agencies work together to protect our communities.”
“The Office of Export Enforcement is committed to disrupting the illegal export of firearms from the United States,” said Nasir Khan, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, Miami Field Office. “We will continue to work with U.S. and international law enforcement partners to penalize violators of our export laws.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bureau of Industry and Security, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations investigated the case. The prosecutor was Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Keen.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which “focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.”