North Carolina Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Illegally Traffic Firearms in NJ
A North Carolina woman today admitted her role in an illegal scheme to buy weapons in Georgia and transport them to New Jersey for resale, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Officials say that Anastacia Thomas, 26, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph Rodriguez in Camden federal court to an information charging her with conspiring to illegally traffic firearms.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Jan. 25, 2018, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop in Deptford, New Jersey, of a car registered to Mr. Anthony Doyle, 28, also of Fayetteville, North Carolina, officials say.
Reports say that Doyle was riding as the front seat passenger while Thomas was driving. The officers observed a Glock handgun in plain view on the front seat passenger floor.
Police say that this gun was loaded with 14 hollow tip bullets. The officers also observed a firearm box in the backseat of the car, next to a backpack. A search of the car and backpack revealed four additional handguns and two additional firearm boxes.
Law enforcement officers subsequently learned that Thomas had purchased the four handguns in the backpack on Jan. 22, 2018, from a pawnshop in Jonesboro, Georgia, officials say.
Thomas had purchased several additional firearms from that same pawnshop over the course of multiple visits, and Doyle accompanied Thomas to the pawnshop on at least two of those visits, officials stated.
Law enforcement officers learned that from Nov. 30, 2017, to Jan. 25, 2018, Doyle and Thomas conspired and worked together to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, according to reports.
Thomas was responsible for purchasing firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers; Doyle used social media to advertise firearms for sale, negotiate pricing, and arrange transactions, according to police.
Officials started that Doyle discussed the various firearm transactions in great detail over the course of hundreds of pages of online messages that were analyzed by law enforcement officers.
The charge of conspiring to engage in gun trafficking carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 7.