A Fort Dix soldier and eight other people have been indicted on gun trafficking charges and at least 85 weapons have been seized, including a machine gun and a grenade launcher, New Jersey officials said yesterday in announcing three separate cases.
The government accused the soldier of dispensing guns illegally through two others in New Jersey; charged five people with trafficking guns from Virginia to Trenton to sell weapons to gang members; and indicted a New Jersey man described as having a stockpile of weapons at his home and in his car.
The charges were the latest in a crackdown on illegal firearms that started in 2008, when investigators began using the federal e-Trace database that tracks guns recovered in crimes. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives maintains the database.
New Jersey became the first state two years ago to routinely use the database although police departments nationwide had been using it.
"Through this type of investigation, we will aggressively target those responsible for the proliferation of deadly firepower on our streets," Attorney General Paula Dow said.
According to the ATF, 75 percent of the guns that were recovered by police in New Jersey last year came from other states. The most - about 16 percent - came from Pennsylvania.
Since 2008, more than 230 weapons have been seized and 27 people have been indicted on weapons charges.
In the latest cases, William James Ivery, 30, a soldier at Fort Dix, was accused of unlawfully disposing of two handguns he brought to New Jersey from Texas and mailing a third gun from Texas to two co-defendants in New Jersey. The three were arrested Wednesday night. It was unclear whether they had attorneys.
Trayle Beasley, 29, of Trenton, was accused of heading a criminal network that trafficked guns from eastern Virginia to Trenton, including weapons recovered in homicide and drug investigations. He was being held in the Trenton jail on $250,000 bail. He had no attorney of record. Three Virginia men also were indicted as part of the gun-trafficking ring.