Three people, including two Trinidadians, have been charged with conspiracy to smuggle goods, including firearms and firearm components, from the United States to the twin-island republic.
US attorney, Roger B. Handberg, said a US national, Edward Soloman King III 31, as well as Trinidadians, Tevin OBrian Oliver, 29, and Jameal Kaia Phillip 30, each face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison if convicted of the charges. They have been described as members of a Caribbean arms trafficking ring.
According to the indictment, Oliver, Phillip, and King were part of a ring that unlawfully exported firearms, firearms components, including upper/lower receivers and gun parts kits, and related items from Florida to Trinidad and Tobago between 2019 and 2022.
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The firearms, which included pistols and rifles, and related equipment were concealed within boxing/fight equipment, speakers, and other household items to avoid detection by law enforcement and customs authorities.
According to the indictment, the conspirators also acquired firearms in the Tampa area from different sellers through straw purchases, falsely representing the identities of the actual purchasers and recipients of the firearms, as well as their ultimate destination.
On April 7, 2021, Oliver shipped a package concealing and containing various firearms and related equipment, from Miami to Trinidad and Tobago.
On April 22, 2021, authorities at the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad seized the shipment.
King was arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Middle District of Florida on Tuesday while Phillip was arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Florida the same day.
Oliver was arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court in the Southern District of Florida on Thursday.
The US authorities note that an indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
They said the case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), including HSI’s Attaché, Caribbean, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance provided by the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and United States Customs and Border Protection.
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