Two men involved in last summer's theft of firearms from Kemp Pharmacy in Claxton were indicted in a six-count indictment returned by the federal grand jury this week, charging each defendant with trafficking firearms stolen from a federal firearms licensee.
Jordy Melvin of Claxton was arraigned on Jan. 13 and Wayne Evans of New York City was arraigned Tuesday in federal court in Statesboro before U.S. Magistrate Judge G.R. Smith.
The indictment charges that in June 2010, the defendants conspired to break into Kemp's Pharmacy, a Federal Firearms Licensee in Evans County, in order to steal guns to transport to New York City for illegal resale on the streets, said First Assistant U.S. Attorney James Durham. Twenty-eight firearms were stolen in all, he said.
"The theft of firearms from licensed gun dealers provides a direct route from the legal marketplace to the hands of criminals," said U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver.
Melvin faces a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, said Durham. Due to his previous criminal history, Evans faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, he said.
"Gun thieves play a critical and deadly role in the chain of violence and ATF places a major emphasis on solving these crimes," said Special Agent in Charge Gregory K. Gant of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Atlanta Field Division.
This indictment and prosecution are further indications that the overall system works, he said.
"Investigative experience shows us that in many instances these firearms end up in the hands of violent criminals, who use them to victimize innocent citizens," said Gant.
Tarver praised the joint efforts of the Claxton Police Department, the Evans County Sheriff's Office, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives which led to the indictment.
"This type of crime harms both the victim of the theft and the members of the community in which the firearms are sold," Tarver said.