PHILADELPHIA — A South Carolina man and another from Pennsylvania are facing federal gun trafficking charges in what federal prosecutors say was an attempt to smuggle 60 guns into Philadelphia.
A statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina announced the arrests of 41-year-old Terrance Darby of Philadelphia and 32-year-old Ontavious Plumer of Due West, South Carolina on Tuesday.
According to their indictments, the defendants are accused of conspiring with at least four others to illegally straw-purchase roughly 60 guns from licensed South Carolina shops between November 2020 and February 2021. The group then transported the guns to Philadelphia.
Prosecutors say Darby would allegedly place the orders for guns with Plumer who would then direct others to purchase the guns and then take them to Darby and others in Philadelphia.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said this is the third set of charges that involve guns smuggled from southern states into Philadelphia as part of what is known as the "Iron Pipeline."
“At a time when our communities have seen a spike in violent gun crime, it is more important now than ever that we hold those accountable for criminal actions,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division.
According to U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams, this is part of a push by the U.S. Department of Justice to find new strategies to crack down on crime related to the "iron pipeline."
"With today’s charges, we have shut off yet another valve to stem the flow of guns into Philadelphia,” said U.S. Attorney Williams. “Our Office is working with urgency and determination to get guns off the streets of our city.”
Both Darby and Plumer were charged with unlicensed dealing and transport of firearms and conspiracy to engage in unlicensed dealing of firearms and to make false statements to a federally licensed firearms dealer. Darby is also facing charges of drug trafficking and gun possession because he was allegedly in possession of methamphetamine and fentanyl for distribution along with two firearms in November 2021.