A federal grand jury in Indianapolis has handed down indictments charging six Hoosiers with gun-related crimes after they were found to have allegedly made straw purchases of more than 90 firearms.
The six indictments handed down Sept. 8, are in addition to eight other indictments in the Southern District of Indiana for straw purchases this year as part of a federal strike force aimed at curbing gun violence.
As part of the cross-jurisdictional strike force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana sought to identify firearms illegally purchased in Indiana and used in violent crimes in Chicago. The office worked in collaboration with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Indianapolis and Chicago Field Divisions.
According to a Thursday press release, law enforcement agents used the latest data, evidence and intelligence from crime scenes to identify suspects in Indiana who illegally purchased firearms and allowed the weapons’ transit to Chicago.
The six Indianapolis residents indicted on Sept. 8 have been charged with multiple counts including making false statements during the purchase of a firearm, making false statements regarding information kept by licensed firearms dealers, unlawful possession of a firearm while under felony indictment and the unlicensed dealing of firearms.
Individuals named in the Sept. 8 indictment include:
- Kwamay Armstrong, 29, Indianapolis
- Jayte Davis, 22, Indianapolis
- Jordan Henry, 22, Indianapolis
- Charles Hunter, 22, Indianapolis
- Eric Keys Jr., 23, Indianapolis
- Tashia Overton, 21, Indianapolis
The six individuals allegedly purchased more than 90 guns, 20 of which were recovered at various violent crime scenes in the Windy City, including murder, the execution of search warrants, mass shootings investigations and an incident where a Chicago police officer was shot.
In one of the indicted cases, Overton purchased 31 firearms over a span of 25 days and subsequently sold them within three days of purchase. To date, six of those firearms have been recovered in the Chicagoland area, with the most recent recovery coming from a mass shooting.
Another indicted case involves a weapon allegedly purchased by Keys that was used to kill a 6-year-old.
The illegal purchases were straw deals, a process in which someone who can legally purchase a firearm does so with the purpose of transferring that weapon to someone who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 10 years of prison time, up to a $250,000 fine and up to three years supervised release on each count.
Additionally, eight more people have been indicted this year in the Southern District of Indiana for such exchanges, including:
- Traven Armstrong, 22, Indianapolis
- Victor Anderson, 24, Indianapolis
- Ernisha Collins, 30, Indianapolis
- Latasha Davis, 28, Indianapolis
- Ryanne Godfrey, 38, Indianapolis
- Kelvin Henderson, 21, Indianapolis
- Sierra Vasquez, 25, Indianapolis
- Edward Wilson, 22, Indianapolis
“Those who illegally provide firearms to others fuel the violent crime crisis facing many of our major cities,” said Acting Indiana Southern District U.S. Attorney John Childress. “Despite the fact that those who illegally provide those firearms may never pull a trigger or brandish a firearm during a crime, they are significantly responsible for the destruction and harm resulting from the use of those firearms and as a result, will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted in the Southern District of Indiana.”
Assistant U.S. attorney Lawrence D. Hilton is prosecuting the cases, which were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The nationwide strike forces are specifically aimed at curbing gun violence and trafficking in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay area/Sacramento region and Washington, D.C.