BECKLEY, WV (LOOTPRESS) – After five days of trial, a federal jury convicted Bisheem Jones, also known as “Bosh,” 37, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, of leading a scheme to traffic over 140 firearms from the Beckley area to Philadelphia.
Evidence at trial proved that from approximately June 2020 to July 2021, Jones worked with his fellow gun traffickers and other co-conspirators to recruit individuals from the Beckley area to straw purchase firearms on his behalf. Jones selected the firearms these straw purchasers would buy and provided the money to purchase them. The straw purchasers falsely certified on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Federal Firearms Transaction Records Form 4473 that they were the buyers of the firearms when they knew they were purchasing them for Jones and his trafficking conspiracy, which is a federal crime.
Jones and his co-conspirators then transported those straw purchased firearms to Philadelphia over the course of a nine-month period. Of the over 140 firearms trafficked in the conspiracy, approximately 45 have been recovered at crime scenes primarily in Philadelphia and have been connected to two homicides, crimes of domestic violence, and other violent offenses.
“This ringleader and his co-conspirators contributed to the deadly flow of illegally trafficked firearms into our communities,” said United States Attorney Will Thompson. “The multiple convictions secured in this case are a testament to the investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). I also commend Assistant United States Attorneys Negar M. Kordestani and Steve Loew and our trial team.”
“ATF’s primary mission is to protect the country from crimes involving firearms,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Shawn Morrow of the Louisville Division. “One of the ways we accomplish this is by identifying sources of crime guns and disrupting firearms trafficking schemes. This investigation demonstrated how Bisheem Jones, and others unlawfully obtained firearms, how their actions put guns into the hands of criminals, and ultimately how those guns were used in serious crimes in multiple states. The guilty verdict makes it clear; West Virginia is not the place to source crime guns. I commend the work of the ATF Charleston and ATF Philadelphia offices, and I am grateful for the United States Attorney’s Office who worked hard to hold those involved accountable.”
The federal jury found Jones guilty of conspiracy to travel interstate to engage in the firearms trafficking, the underlying crime of traveling interstate to engage firearms trafficking, and money laundering conspiracy. Jones faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced.
Three of Jones’ co-defendants pleaded guilty to interstate travel with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. A fourth pleaded guilty to conspiracy to travel interstate with the intent to engage in dealing firearms without a license. Seven co-defendants pleaded guilty to making false statements in acquisition of firearms. An additional seven individuals pleaded guilty to firearms offenses related to the firearms trafficking conspiracy. Ten of the individuals who had pleaded guilty to their roles in this scheme testified at Jones’ trial.
United States District Judge Frank W. Volk presided over the jury trial.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.