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Two Kittitians sentenced in Atlanta, Georgia, for crimes related to international weapons trafficking

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Clairvorn Kelly, 25 and Jaziah Roy Lewis, 30, both of St. Kitts and Nevis, were sentenced for crimes related to international weapons trafficking on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

According to a release from the United States Department of Justice in the Northern District of Georgia, between February 18, 2017, and May 14, 2020, Kelly, Lewis and Bess, conspired to purchase and illegally export 36 firearms from the United States to the United Kingdom and the Caribbean via the U.S. Postal Service.

U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said multiple firearms were purchased by the defendants in Georgia, recovered in the United Kingdom and St. Kitts, and tied to various criminal networks abroad.

Kelly was convicted of conspiring to straw purchase firearms, illegal dealing in firearms, unlawfully transferring firearms to an out-of-state resident, and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.

A straw purchase is buying a gun for an individual who is prohibited by law from possessing one or someone who does not want to be associated with the transaction.

Lewis pleaded guilty to conspiring to straw purchase firearms, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, exporting firearms outside the United States, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Deja Bess pleaded guilty to one count of straw purchasing a firearm.

The sentencing, laid by U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, is as follows:

Kelly, 25, of St. Kitts and Nevis; sentenced to four years, three months imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.

Lewis, 30, of St. Kitts and Nevis, was sentenced on September 14, 2021, to four years nine months of imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release.

Bess, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced on November 15, 2021, to three years of probation.

In January, Commissioner of Police in St. Kitts and Nevis, Hilroy Brandy, during the closing ceremony for the completion of specialised training in firearm serial number restoration, spoke of the collaborative efforts done here to help convict the men involved.

“Just for last year alone, [Because] of your skills and devotion to duty, we were able to trace many firearms all the way back to the United States and as a result of our [efforts] six of our own citizens were arrested and imprisoned in the United States and in England,” said Brandy to the six officers who completed the serial number restoration training.

Commissioner Brandy also reported that from 2012-21 there was an average of 21 homicides in the Federation, and 80 percent of the homicides were committed with firearms.

Over the ten years, 249 illegal firearms were recovered by local authorities.

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