5 accused in Georgia-to-California black market gun project

Federal prosecutors say five individuals illegally smuggled more than 500 guns from Georgia to California, where they will sell on the black market for more than 160,000 in about two years.

Sacramento, California – Five men illegally smuggled more than 500 guns from Georgia to California, where they will sell on the black market for more than $ 160,000 in about two years, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento said in a press release that the federal investigation began after authorities discovered a gun used in Sacramento, California, had been shot in Georgia.

A federal grand jury indicted the group on Thursday after their March 11 arrest. The five have been charged with illegal trade in firearms and conspiracy to trade firearms.

The defendants are: Gerald Lawson, 31, of Sacramento, California; Ayesha Hagat of Sacramento, 29; Malek Williams, 26, Atlanta; Terrence Phillips, 39, Union City, California; And James Gordley, 32, of Modesto, California. It was not immediately clear if there was an attorney who could speak on their behalf.

Lawson, Hagat, Williams and Phillips have also been charged with transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident and illegal mailing of a firearm. Lawson has been charged with possession of a firearm.

The sale of firearms at the Sacramento shooting led investigators to Lawson, officials said. Between November 2019 and October 2021, Lawson will be brokering the purchase of firearms online in Georgia, and Williams – who has a license to carry a concealed weapon – will pick up the guns and mail them to California.

Some of the guns went to people who had been barred from carrying firearms because of previous criminal convictions, authorities said.

Hogt allegedly worked with Lawson to coordinate the front-end of the scheme, while Phillips and Gordley are accused of distributing guns in California.

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