FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Virginia Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison in Connection with Trafficking
217 Firearms Purchased in Virginia to be Sold on the Streets of Brooklyn
Defendant, a Leader of the Conspiracy, is 24th Individual to be Sentenced for His Role
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a Virginia man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison following his guilty plea earlier this month to first-degree criminal sale of a firearm in connection with an operation that trafficked 217 firearms purchased in his home state to be sold on the streets of Brooklyn. The defendant is the last of 24 defendants, including 22 Virginia residents, sentenced for their involvement in the conspiracy.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I hope today’s substantial prison sentence – and the additional sentences given to each codefendant – sends an unambiguous message: out-of-state gun runners who threaten our communities with deadly weapons will be found, will be prosecuted and will be brought to justice for their crimes. My Office will continue to focus resources on those responsible for driving violent crime as part of my commitment to keeping Brooklyn safe and strengthening community trust.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Jaquan Spencer, 24, a.k.a. Madcat. He was sentenced today by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Harrington to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision. He pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sale of a firearm on May 9, 2019.
Among the other top defendants who pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sale of a firearm and have been sentenced are: Damian King, 29, a.k.a. Havoc, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Levar Shelborne, 31, a.k.a. Wavy Boy, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Antwan Walker, 24, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Kenneth Threatts, 23, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; Tevin Richardson, 28, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision; and Renardo Maye, 22, who was sentenced to nine years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision.
The remaining defendants pleaded guilty to charges ranging from third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon, perjury and fourth-degree conspiracy and received sentences ranging from five years in prison to community service and probation, depending on their roles.
Between June 2016 and February 2017, according to the investigation, the defendants conspired to sell guns purchased in Virginia to a purchaser in Brooklyn. The weapons recovered during the course of the investigation include assault weapons such as AK-47s, AR-15s, Thomson Industries (a.k.a. Tommy guns), Mossberg 715Ts, and MAC-10s. The handguns include a .45 caliber Desert Eagle 1911, Glocks with extended ammunition magazines and 50 round ammunition drums, and handguns of various calibers including .45 caliber, .40 caliber, .380 caliber, and 9mm.
One arm of the criminal organization operated in the area of Henrico and Richmond Counties, while the other arm of the conspiracy operated in the cities of Hampton and Newport News. The individuals comprising each arm of the conspiracy received direction from higher ranking members from each geographic area, who coordinated and organized the joint firearms trafficking operation between the two areas.
The defendants, including Spencer, King and Shelborne, travelled by automobile or took the bus to New York with anywhere from two to 12 guns at a time to meet the purchaser and complete the sale. Other defendants served as so-called ‘straw purchasers,’ individuals who, while legally entitled to purchase firearms under Virginia law, did so in this case only in order to give them to other defendants for illegal resale in Brooklyn.
According to the investigation, the sales took place at various locations in Brooklyn, including in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Fort Greene, Sunset Park, and Boerum Hill. The firearms and ammunition were sold at a significant profit. The purchaser paid on average between $800 and $1,200 per hand gun and approximately $1,800 to $2,200 for the assault weapons.
The District Attorney said that the defendants, many of whom are associated with Blood gangs in Virginia and Brooklyn, used proceeds from the gun sales to fund a lavish lifestyle, purchasing drugs, jewelry, clothing, and sneakers, in addition to sending money to jailed associates. In court ordered wiretaps, the defendants are heard labeling themselves traffickers and mocking Virginia’s weak gun laws.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Courtney Leigh Scalice of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Jonathan R. Sennett, VCE Deputy Chief and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, VCE Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patricia McNeill, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.