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Ten defendants indicted for gun trafficking

STAFF REPORTS

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging Titus Thompson, Jr., 33, of Buffalo, NY, Deonte “Terry” Cooper, 23, Ricky Turner, 48, Argentis Albino Herrera, 24, Diones Bowens, 22, Shane Shumaker, 31, Victoria Orlando, 36, Vicky Hoffstetter, 37, Koree Runyan, 24, and Jenna Ann Redding, 31, all of Ashtabula, Ohio, with conspiracy to commit firearms offenses. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.  In addition, defendant Thompson was charged with unlawfully dealing in firearms, being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition, using and maintaining a drug-involved premises, and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, which carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Emmanuel O. Ulubiyo, who is handling the case, stated that according to the superseding indictment and a previously filed complaint, on May 18, 2018, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives and the Buffalo Police Department executed a search warrant at 89 Parkridge Avenue in Buffalo in the upper and lower apartments which are utilized by Titus Thompson. During the search, agents recovered a .40 caliber pistol and a 9mm pistol in the upper apartment as well as several firearms in the lower apartment. Thompson has two previous felony convictions. As a result, the defendant is legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

Titus’s arrest was the result of an ongoing investigation into the trafficking of firearms from the State of Ohio to Buffalo. Between November 2017 and May 2018, the defendants were involved in the purchase in Ohio and transport to Buffalo of 100 firearms.  10 of those firearms have been recovered in Buffalo, and another firearm was recovered in Youngstown, Ohio.

In connection with the purchase of these firearms, defendants Cooper, Turner, Herrera, Bowens, Shumaker, Orlando, Hofstetter, Runyan, and Redding falsely represented on an ATF Form 4473 that they were the actual purchaser of the firearm, when, in fact, the defendants purchased the firearms for Ricky Turner and Robert L. Williams, Jr., who has also been indicted in connection with this case.

Defendant Thompson is also accused of selling the illegally purchased firearms.

The superseding indictment is the result of an investigation by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan Benedict, New York Field Division, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Byron Lockwood.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.