PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Monday, federal officials unveiled two indictments charging 14 people with illegally trafficking hundreds of firearms into Philadelphia. The two indictments are a blunt look at the gun problem in Philadelphia.
This is a sampling of the firepower 14 defendants flooded into Philadelphia, a so-called black market pipeline from Georgia and South Carolina to the Delaware Valley.5-Year-Old Boy Injured In North Philadelphia Shooting, Police Say
The guns were driven back to Philadelphia and federal prosecutors say, in many instances, the straw-purchased firearms destroyed lives.
“Both cases involve individuals illegally trafficking firearms from states in the South up into northeastern cities — in this case Philadelphia — which are then recovered at crimes scenes, a phenomenon known as the iron pipeline,” Assitant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said.
Federal agents traced more than 400 handguns and rifles, recovering many of them.
The alleged scheme started with Frederick Norman, a man living in Atlanta.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: Teen Pilot Who Landed Plane On Bridge In Ocean City Shares How He Survived New Mexico Plane Crash
He went on a gun purchasing spree between June and November of 2020, according to one of the indictments bearing his name. Norman and more than a dozen conspirators moved the firearms to Philadelphia, with cash changing hands.
“The weapons purchased in these cases were utilized in non-fatal shootings and linked through our system to other criminal events that occurred here in the city,” said Matt Varisco with the ATF.
A second indictment alleges a man named Muhammad Ware conducted a similar straw purchase operation in South Carolina and again funneled the weapons to associates in Philadelphia.
The elements of the accused crimes contained in the indictments drew this warning from the U.S. Attorney for Pennsylvania’s Eastern District.MORE NEWS: Police: 4-Year-Old In Stable But Critical Condition After Being Struck By SUV In West Philly
The indictments show an excess of $100,000 was the cash value exchanged for receipt of the firearms. Agents are still searching for three defendants. So far, 11 of them have been either processed or incarcerated.