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Three Camden men indicted in New York

Allegedly trafficked more than 100 firearms

Posted: June 8, 2017 4:46 p.m.
Updated: June 9, 2017 1:00 a.m.
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Manhattan (N.Y.) District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (center) speaks during a May 22 press conference announcing the arrest of six men, including three from Camden -- Troy Allen, 32; Shakial Shephard, 22; and Liq’uel Robinson, 19 -- for the illegal sale of more than 100 firearms that other defendants ultimately sold to a undercover New York City Police Department officer. The other three defendants are all from New York City. At right is New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.

Three Camden men are awaiting their next court date, set for June 20, in Manhattan, N.Y., Supreme Court, after being indicted and arrested for their alleged roles in a gun trafficking case in late March.

According to a press release from New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office, Troy Allen, 32; Shakial Shephard, 22; and Liq’uel Robinson, 19, all of Camden, face charges along with three New York City men in connection with the illegal sale more than 100 pistols, assault rifles, revolvers and shotguns, along with ammunition, to an undercover New York Police Department (NYPD) detective posing as a firearms dealer.

The NYPD identified the other three men as Shavar Stuckey, 21; Levon Jackson, 30; and Davon Heatley, 32, all of New York City. In the press release and during a televised press conference, Vance and other officials said more than 40 separate transactions took place in or around the undercover officer’s vehicle in Harlem and the Bronx, with prices ranging from $800 to $2,000 per firearm.

According to the press release, Stuckey and Jackson -- thanks to Heatley, Allen, Shephard and Robinson -- illegally sold 75 semi-automatic pistols, 21 revolvers, five operable assault rifles and four shotguns along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Vance said the three Camden men purchased or otherwise obtained the firearms they sold to Stuckey and Jackson from others in South Carolina and that 20 of the guns they supplied were listed as stolen.

Allen, Shephard and Robinson allegedly supplied the bulk of the firearms to Stuckey and Jackson, who are half-brothers and have family connections to South Carolina. Heatley also allegedly supplied Stuckey with some of the firearms and participated in three sales to the undercover officer.

Vance’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit and the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit jointly worked on the more months-long investigation. In addition, U.S. Marshals within the New York/New Jersey and Southeast regional task forces assisted with the case, including arresting Allen, Shephard and Robinson in South Carolina and arranging their extraditions to New York.

The charges

Shephard is charged with 17 counts of the criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree; two counts each of criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree; and one count each of criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree.

Robinson is charged with nine counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree; four counts of criminal possession of a firearm; two counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree; and one count each of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree.

Allen is charged with four counts of the criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree and one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree.

Allen and Shephard, who were arrested March 22 and extradited the next day, are being held at the Manhattan Detention Center (MDC). New York uses a bond/bail system whereby bond is set at a certain level and defendants may post bail for half that amount. Shephard’s bond was set at $300,000 with a $150,000 bail. Allen’s bond was set at $150,000 with a $75,000 bail.

Robinson, who was arrested and extradited March 23, is being held separately, having been remanded to the Brooklyn Detention Complex (BKDC) without bond.

As for the New York men, Stuckey is charged with 78 counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree; 56 counts of criminal possession of a firearm in the second degree; four counts of criminal possession of a weapon on the third degree; three counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree; and one count each of criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree.

Stuckey was remanded to the George R. Vierno Detention Center without bond.

Jackson is charged with 26 counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree; and one count each of criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree, criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, attempted criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree.

Jackson was remanded to the MDC without bond.

Heatley is charged four counts each of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree; and one count each of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree.

Heatley is being held at the BKDC on $500,000 bond with bail of $250,000.

Conversations

A copy of the indictment, forwarded by Vance’s office, appears to indicateinvestigators used  some means to capture telephone conversations and texts between the defendants themselves and at least Stuckey and the undercover officer.

According to the indictment, on Dec. 8, 2016, Allen spoke to Stuckey on the phone stating he was “down south” and was “trying to come up soon” and indicated he had a “40. 40 cal. brand new, too” and that he “might get a 9” (mm).

Nearly a week later, on Dec. 14, 2016, Allen spoke to Stuckey and allegedly said he may have “some extra” and confirmed he would be coming in to Manhattan on the “D” train. Five days later, on Dec. 19, 2016, Jackson and Allen allegedly discussed the price of firearms. According to the indictment, Allen told Jackson “I got a 9 and a 40 right now” and “I want 13 ($1,300) for both.” The next day, Dec. 20, 2016, Allen allegedly confirmed for Jackson he was leaving that night, which, according to the indictment, he did. The next day, he allegedly spoke to Jackson: “I’m about to hop on the train (to) come uptown.” A short time later, Allen allegedly sold four semi-automatic pistols to Jackson, who then sold them for $3,600 to the undercover officer.

That same day, Dec. 21, 2016, Shephard allegedly sent Jackson text message photos of two handguns. Jackson acknowledged receiving them, but then texted that “My man won’t be back until Jan. 3.”

On Dec. 22, 2016, during a telephone conversation, Stuckey allegedly complained to Allen that Jackson was taking advantage of the gun trafficking business Stuckey had built. “I’ve been going back and forth for years,” Stuckey allegedly told Allen. “I built all that… Me! I was coming down there bringing hammers back, that was me! I built this… bro, from nothing, to the point where Wes can do what he do…. I built it, I started, I created it, I planted it and the tree, good now. Now he can go under the tree and get some shade.”

But on that same day, Stuckey and Jackson spoke on the phone with Stuckey appearing to accuse Allen and Shephard of playing him and Jackson “against each other.”

Despite those conversations, Jackson allegedly told Shephard on Dec. 28, 2016, he was going to “get all them joints for 27” ($2,700) but also complained that Allen had only “four, too. Feel me, like that’s nothing, that’s light.” Jackson and Shephard agreed to “27-5” ($2,750). “That’s a definite deal, bro,” Jackson allegedly told Shephard.

On Jan. 5 -- after allegedly checking in with the undercover officer -- Jackson and Shephard spoke on the phone; Shephard allegedly said he was almost in New York and to text him an address to meet. According to the indictment, Shephard and Robinson allegedly traveled together from Camden to New York and supplied four semi-automatic pistols to Jackson, who then allegedly sold them to the undercover officer.

Just a few days later, Shephard allegedly sent another text message of pictures -- this time of four guns -- to Jackson, who then allegedly sent them on to the undercover officer. A week later, on Jan. 17, Shephard allegedly traveled from Camden to New York and provided six semi-automatic pistols to Stuckey, who then allegedly sold them to the undercover officer.

On Jan. 23, Shephard allegedly spoke to Jackson and said he had three more guns to sell. Shephard allegedly called again on Jan. 25, asking if the buyer was “looking for two more.” That same day, Shephard and Robinson allegedly traveled from Camden to New York and supplied Jackson with four semi-automatic pistols and a revolver, which he then allegedly sold to the undercover officer.

Through February, Stuckey seemed to only work with Heatley. On March 5, though, Shephard allegedly spoke to Jackson and offered to send two firearms for “14” ($1,400). Shephard allegedly agreed to bring the firearms to Jackson’s “crib” by 7:30 p.m., but didn’t make it to New York until 8:30 a.m. the next day. On March 7, Jackson allegedly spoke to Shephard on the phone, encouraging him to “keep on searching” because the “14 is already in the pocket, we got to work on the next (piece).”

Later that day, Jackson allegedly sold two semi-automatic pistols to the undercover officer for $2,000. He then allegedly spoke with Shephard again, telling him “It’s done now” and that he was on his way to wire Shephard the money.

The Iron Pipeline

In the press release as well as during the press conference, Vance said March 22 marked the third time in a year that he had “stood with our partners at the NYPD in front of a cache of deadly weapons funneled into New York” through what he called “The Iron Pipeline.”

“In this case, like others before it, discount buses were the vehicles of choice for transporting weapons north along the I-95 corridor. Prosecutions like these are exactly how gun crime in New York City fell to historic lows: local enforcement of some of the strongest gun laws in the country,” Vance said.

In addition to bus lines into Manhattan’s Chinatown, Vance alleged that Allen, Robinson and Shephard also used the Uber car service as well as subway lines to transport themselves and the weapons to Stuckey and Jackson.

“And in doing so, endanger(ed) the passengers, drivers and residents of Chinatown alike,” Vance said.

New York Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said this case shows anyone trafficking illegal guns into New York City will be arrested and prosecuted.

“Our detectives continue to disrupt the flow of illegal guns into New York and, with the district attorney’s office, bring the most rigorous charges,” O’Neill said. “I commend the sustained effort of the investigations in the Gun Violence Suppression Division and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for taking these illegal guns off the street.”

Vance said New York Cityauthorities seized up to 53,000 guns between 2010 and 2015, and that 74 percent of those originated from out of state, which he said was more than double the national average.

In this case, O’Neill said, the weapons Allen, Robinson and Shephard allegedly brought to New York have been taken out of commission, permanently.

“That’s great news for the public and that’s great news for the police,” he said.

“The Iron Pipeline” is a term used by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and others to describe I-95 and connecting highways as the route used to smuggle weapons from, primarily, Arizona, California, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, to Mid-Atlantic and New England states. In particular, these illegal guns end up New York and New Jersey, which have more restrictive gun laws than other states.

The pipeline is also used to describe routes used to transport illegal guns to be sold in Chicago.

 

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