A Cherry Hill man was sentenced Monday in federal court in Camden to 40 months in prison for his role in illegally acquiring and selling dozens of handguns to drug dealers and others.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert B. Kugler also sentenced 38-year-old Fr'Nei Hickson, who had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deal in firearms without a federal firearms license, to three years' supervised release. Hickson, who is also known as "Philly," has been in federal custody since his 2014 arrest in Atlanta, where he was charged for illegal possession of 12 firearms.
He pleaded guilty in Atlanta federal court to possession of firearms by a convicted felon and in 2016 was sentenced to four years in prison. Hickson completed his sentence in that case in August 2017 but remained in custody on the New Jersey case.
According to federal authorities, Hickson admitted that between December 2009 and April 2013 he sold or brokered the sale of at least 100 handguns obtained from people outside of New Jersey.
The people Hickson purchased guns from had acquired the guns through purchases from unlicensed gun sellers and without background checks.
Some of the firearms were also purchased at Ohio gun stores by straw purchasers who transported the handguns to New Jersey and resold them to Hickson and others involved in the case. Some of the weapons Hickson sold were equipped with extended magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
Hickson's arrest was part of a long-term investigation of illegal gun trafficking recovered from felons in the Camden, Philadelphia, and surrounding areas. The case was called "Operation Buckeye," because the bulk of the illegal guns were originally purchased in Ohio.