One active-duty Navy sailor and one former sailor have been charged with conspiring to traffic “dozens” of guns after they purchased firearms in Georgia that were later used in New Jersey-area violent crimes.
Elijah Isaiah Boykin, the active-duty sailor, and Elijah Keashon Barnes, who was discharged in June of 2020 for repeatedly violating military law, were indicted Tuesday, according to The Justice Department.
“Federal law prohibits the making of false statements and misrepresentations to licensed firearms dealers,” acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said in a Tuesday statement. “Individuals who use deception to buy guns intended for other people will face severe consequences, including imprisonment and the loss of valuable civil rights.”
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Boykin, 25, of Palmetto, Georgia, and Barnes, 21, of Newark, New Jersey, purchased more than two dozen guns from federally licensed firearms dealers in Georgia and Virginia under Boykin’s name for a combined price of more than $17,000 over the course of four months between April 2020 and August 2020, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Newark, New Jersey, law enforcement began to track down the firearms not long after Boykin and Barnes purchased them and have recovered six so far.
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Authorities arrested Barnes in October 2020 and recovered a pistol in his vehicle after conducting a traffic stop on the 21-year-old who was wanted on a Virginia warrant for domestic assault, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Officials later recovered a gun Boykin purchased and conducted a forensic test on the weapon that linked it to three separate Newark shootings, including a violent mugging incident during which a victim was shot three times.
The two men are charged with three counts of making false statements to federally licensed gun dealers and one count of unlawful transfer of a firearm.
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The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is still investigating the case.
“The unlawful acquisition and trafficking of firearms is a serious crime that threatens our communities here and abroad,” ATF Special Agent in Charge, Atlanta Field Division, Ben Gibbons said in a statement. “This investigation illustrates the dedication of ATF and its law enforcement partners to disrupt illegal firearm straw purchase schemes within the U.S. or anywhere criminals choose to operate.”