On Thursday, U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan announced the arrest of six Seattle-area men during a sting operation in Renton.
The men, some of whom have prior felony convictions and range from 20-to-28-years-old, were arrested on an indictment charging them with firearm trafficking as well as being felons in possession of firearms. None of the men live in Renton.
Twenty-Five guns were collected during the raid, many of which had previously been reported stolen.
The charges are a result of an undercover investigation involving the Seattle Police Department Gang Unit; the FBI; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office.
The men appeared for their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“The defendants trafficked all kinds of firearms, including semi-automatic assault rifles, sawed-off shotguns, handguns, and even a silencer,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Convicted felons illegally selling this kind of firepower is a dangerous combination.”
“The detectives on this investigation worked tirelessly over months to build a case that resulted in the removal of dangerous weapons off our streets and the arrests of those responsible,” said Chief John Diaz, Seattle Police Department.
According to the indictment, the weapons were sold to a person working with law enforcement over a period of months in early 2012. The sales occurred in Renton, Washington. Five of the defendants are charged with conspiracy to unlawfully deal firearms and unlawfully dealing in firearms. Individually, four of the men are charged with being a felon in possession of firearms.
Some of the men’s prior felonies include: convictions for theft, robbery, unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of controlled substances, and forgery among other convictions.
“The first step was taking these deadly weapons off the street, and the next was arresting gang members who would wield them,” said FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Steven M. Dean. “The Seattle Safe Streets Task Force will repeat this successful formula as often as we need to because AK-47s and other assault rifles have no place in our community. Today’s arrests highlight that the law enforcement community is at its best when working together.”
“These arrests exemplify what can happen when dedicated law enforcement professionals work together to combat criminals and protect communities,” said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF, Seattle Field Division. “And to those that would illegally sell guns, fuel violent crime, and create fear on our streets, I suggest you sit-up and take notice—the safety and security of our communities is not negotiable. Not today, not tomorrow—not ever.”
The men may face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
This case was jointly investigated by the FBI; the Seattle Police Department Gang Unit; and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicholas Brown.