Eight Clayton County residents were among more than 60 busted in a federal takedown of illegal gun trafficking in Atlanta, said officials Wednesday night.
The long-term storefront sting operation netted nearly 4,000 rounds of ammunition, 205 handguns, 33 rifles, 25 shotguns, seven sawed-off shotguns, two silencers, two ballistics vests and three smoke grenades, said U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
Federal agents also reportedly seized $40,800 in marijuana; $69,620 in cocaine; $105,710 in crack cocaine; $77,990 in heroin; $7,200 in ecstasy, also known as MDMA; $26,100 in methamphetamine; $2,050 in oxycodone and $780 in Xanax.
Among those arrested were Andrew McCord, III, 27, of Clayton County. McCord faces a maximum five years in prison if convicted on charges of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license and two counts of dealing in firearms without a license, said Yates.
Brenton Wise, 24, of Clayton County, faces 11 counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; eight of dealing in firearms without a license; four counts of possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute; and one each of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, possession and sale of a stolen firearm and possession of an unregistered short-barreled firearm. He faces a maximum of 20 years if convicted.
Ryan Horton, 22, of Clayton County, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted of five counts of dealing in firearms without a license, two counts of possession and sale of a stolen firearm and possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute.
Brian Bell, 26, of Clayton County, was charged with one count each of possession of a firearm by an individual under indictment and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. Bell faces a maximum of 10 years if convicted.
Dwayne Fields, 22, of Clayton County, was charged with one count each of dealing in firearms without a license and making a false statement during purchase of a firearm. Fields faces a maximum of five years in prison if convicted.
Mosezell Kelly, 23, College Park, was charged with dealing in firearms without a license and could face five years if convicted.
Christopher “Flaco” Montes, 22, of Clayton County, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun. Montes faces a maximum of 20 years if convicted.
David “Doper” Salas, 21, Clayton County, was charged with three counts of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and one each of possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Salas could face 20 years in prison, if convicted.
Yates said the undercover operation targeted gang members, drug dealers and convicted felons who were illegally possessing or selling firearms. She praised the joint efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Atlanta Police Department.
“This was a proactive approach by law enforcement to get guns out of the hands of criminals and immediately make our neighborhoods safer as a result," said Yates. "ATF and APD focused on communities most affected by violent criminals and took nearly 300 guns from the hands of criminals. The defendants thought it was business as usual, but today they discovered that this law enforcement community is acting together to disrupt the flow of guns to criminals.”
The storefront, called “Operation Trapdoor,” featured an undercover business located on Metropolitan Parkway in Atlanta that operated as a cellphone and vehicle alteration business. Undercover agents, posing as store managers and employees, learned about people in the area who were trafficking in firearms, and drugs. Weapons traffickers, drug traffickers and convicted felons began approaching the undercover agents to sell guns and drugs, said Yates.