Friday, December 3, 2010

Illegal Firearms Squad helps stop illegal gun trafficker

Our Illegal Firearms Squad formed last year with the purpose of prosecuting those who deal guns illegally. They work closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips recently announced that the suspect in one of their cases was just sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison.

Montell F. Ross, 28, illegally sold guns to Kansas City-area felons/gang members, several of which were used in shootings. Here's an excerpt from the U.S. Attorney's press release:

"On May 17, 2010, Ross pleaded guilty to firearms trafficking. Ross admitted that, from May 2007 to June 2008, he illegally purchased firearms in Oklahoma and brought them to Missouri to sell. Ross kept his Oklahoma driver’s license after moving to Missouri so that he could falsely claim to be a resident of Oklahoma when he purchased the firearms. Ross then sold the firearms to people who could not lawfully obtain firearms.

An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined in April 2009 that six firearms purchased by Ross were recovered a short time later by law enforcement officials during criminal investigations. For example, according to court documents, a .45-caliber pistol purchased by Ross was recovered in the possession of an Oklahoma man who has been convicted of robbery with a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Several firearms purchased by Ross were recovered in the possession of individuals who were involved in shootings.

Ross admitted that at least two of the illegally purchased firearms were sold to a juvenile who had been shot at least three times. This person was a member of a Kansas City gang, according to court records, and had numerous involvements with the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department."

This is the kind of work that makes Kansas City safer. Stopping the source of weapons for felons and/or gang members is a key component to stopping criminal activity.

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