A Georgia man has been charged with trafficking guns to Jersey City, which were subsequently used in local shootings, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Jonathan Brown, 26, of Covington, Georgia, was arrested today in Covington by special agents of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and is charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit the unlicensed sale of firearms.
He had his initial appearance, and was detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for May 8th in the Northern District of Georgia.
Brown led a scheme to purchase firearms in or around Georgia and traffic those firearms to individuals in Jersey City, according to the criminal complaint.
Although he is barred from purchasing firearms himself due to multiple prior felony convictions, Brown allegedly used straw purchasers in Georgia to obtain the firearms so that Brown could sell those firearms to others.
On multiple occasions, he brought firearms from Georgia to New Jersey for sale.
Within months of Brown’s trips to Jersey City, law enforcement arrested numerous individuals in Jersey City in possession of firearms purchased by Brown’s straw purchasers, authorities said.
At least one of the weapons trafficked by Brown was later used in the shooting of another person in Jersey City. Furthermore, at least one of the individuals in possession of one of Brown’s guns had a prior felony conviction, and was therefore barred from possessing a firearm.
To date, law enforcement has recovered seven firearms allegedly trafficked by Brown in Jersey City.
The conspiracy count with which the defendant is charged carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Carpenito credited special agents of the ATF, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson, as well as the Jersey City Police Department, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the ATF Atlanta Field Division, and the Newton County, Georgia, Sheriff’s office, with the investigation leading to the charges and arrest.
This investigation was conducted as part of the Jersey City Violent Crime Initiative (VCI).
The VCI was formed in 2018 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Jersey City Police Department, for the sole purpose of combatting violent crime in and around Jersey City.