Four men have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in trafficking more than 160 firearms, some of which were smuggled out of the country and recovered from various crime scenes.
“Firearms trafficking is a serious crime that fuels violence,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “By placing firearms in the hands of convicted felons and other prohibited persons, straw purchasers of firearms, like the defendants in this case, play a key role in propagating violence in our community. This case sends a clear message: straw purchases will lead to prosecution.”
“This investigation and sentence is another example of ATF remaining on the frontline of preventing violent crime through excellent cooperation with our law enforcement partners. Through this cooperative effort we were able to apprehend and successfully prosecute violent and dangerous individuals which posed a significant threat to the public,” said ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Beau Kolodka.
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Between May 2021 and continuing through early March 2022, Romeo Swofford directed other individuals, including co-defendants Emmanuel Barden and Cemonte Wade, to obtain upwards of 160 handguns from federally licensed firearms dealers within the Atlanta area. Barden and Wade deceived the licensed dealers by falsely representing that they were buying guns for themselves. In truth, Swofford was the actual purchaser who paid for and took possession of the guns once the transactions were completed.
Swofford sought to acquire guns so he could profit from reselling them to convicted criminals and other people who would use, possess, or export them unlawfully. To facilitate these illegal gun sales, Swofford used hand tools to obliterate the serial numbers on dozens of the firearms. But nearly 20 of the guns Swofford sold were recovered from crime scenes in Canada where law enforcement authorities successfully restored the serial numbers Swofford attempted to remove.
On March 9, 2022, federal agents watched Swofford accompany Wade to two different Cobb County gun stores. Wade purchased three Glock semiautomatic pistols before relinquishing them to Swofford. Afterwards, Swofford and Wade met co-defendant Medford Layatte Daniels, Jr. outside a deli in the Edgewood neighborhood of Atlanta. Swofford then moved guns, drugs, and a scale into Daniels’s van. Both Swofford and Daniels were armed with loaded pistols. Daniels was on probation for unrelated gun and drug crimes at the time.
U.S. District Judge Jean-Paul “J.P.” Boulee sentenced the defendants as follows:
- Romeo Swofford, a/k/a “Lil Richie,” 21, of Lithonia, Georgia, was sentenced to 10 years, one month in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to make false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer and aiding and abetting false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
- Medford Layatte Daniels, Jr., a/k/a “NFNC Freak,” 26, of Conley, Georgia, was sentenced to nine years, three months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release after pleading guilty to receipt of a firearm by a person under indictment and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.
- Emmanuel Marquis Barden, 23, of Decatur, Georgia, was sentenced to four years, nine months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to make false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
- Cemonte Deshon Wade, 23, of Ellenwood, Georgia, was sentenced to three years, one month in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to make false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Theodore S. Hertzberg and Annalise K. Peters prosecuted the case.
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.