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4 Indicted in Largest Gun Trafficking Case in Nation

May 30, 1999| From Associated Press

OAKLAND — In what has been called the nation's largest ongoing gun trafficking case, a man allegedly sold as many as 1,000 semiautomatic pistols that were linked to robberies, homicides and other violent crimes.

A federal grand jury Friday indicted Sean Twomey, 31, of Hayward. He allegedly obtained the guns from wholesalers and then distributed them with the help of convicted felons. Two other men and a woman were also indicted.

Twomey falsified his expired federal firearms license and used it to buy boxes of guns from legitimate suppliers, said Tracy Hite of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Twomey then allegedly obliterated the weapons' serial numbers in an effort to prevent them from being traced to him. He reportedly sold the weapons at a significant markup throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

The weapons ranged from cheap Lorcin models to expensive Glocks and were used by criminals in at least three states, Hite said. About 40 pistols linked to criminal suspects have been recovered with more expected.

Twomey denied the allegations, said Daniel Horowitz, his court-appointed attorney. The attorney said federal authorities were exaggerating the case against his client to capitalize on national outrage over the shooting rampage last month at a Colorado high school.

"I have a few doubts about the size of the endeavor they're alleging," Horowitz said. "I'm very skeptical."

U.S. Atty. Robert S. Mueller III said he could not discuss the specifics of the case but stated that "gun trafficking can have a devastating impact on our neighborhoods because of the danger that untraceable guns pose when they fall into the hands of criminals."

The nine-count indictment, which follows an 18-month investigation, also names Jason Jeffries, 27, who has a felony conviction for unrelated weapons charges; Celouse Ham, 24, a convicted felon in custody at the Alameda County Jail; and Kamelah Smedley, 25, who was arrested Friday.

The indictment alleges that the four conspired to sell firearms without a license between March and October 1997. The indictment alleges that a single gun ring can set off a chain reaction of violent crime within a few months.

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