Feds indict 9 Metro Detroiters for using others to illegally buy guns

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Nine Metro Detroiters and a Floridian accused of illegally buying guns have been indicted on federal charges, officials said Tuesday.

Bishop Allen, 24; Antonio Jackson, 22; James Jackson, 23; Eshon Rose, 22; Reginald Small, 23; Emmanuel Stevens, 21; Donte Turner, 26; and Chauncey Williams, 21, all of Detroit, as well as Mike Chahoua, 23, of Sterling Heights have been charged, acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin said in a statement.

Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin

A Florida man, Garcia Moses, 24, was also indicted, she said. Six of the 10 defendants have been arrested and will be appearing in federal court Tuesday for arraignments.

According to Mohsin, the 10 people are accused of so-called "straw purchasing" firearms, or using another person to buy them firearms because they either were unable to pass the required federal background check or didn't want their names associated with the transaction.

If convicted, each of the 10 face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The indictments are part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative aimed at reducing gun violence.

"The surge of gun violence in our cities is being fueled by individuals who circumvent the law and supply firearms to felons and trigger-pullers," Mohsin said. "These cases should send a message to those thinking about straw purchasing firearms — you will be subject to federal prosecution."

Officials said three of the defendants — Chahoua, Antonio Jackson and Chauncey Williams — used stolen credit card information to buy weapons from online retailers and enlisted seven straw purchasers to retrieve the firearms in-person from a local federal firearms licensee in exchange for compensation between November 2020 and March 2021.

They said at least 40 firearms were illegally obtained through their scheme and at least three of the weapons were recovered from convicted felons.