THREE MEMBERS OF CARIBBEAN ARMS TRAFFICKING RING PLEAD GUILTY
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Tevin OBrian Oliver (30, Homestead), Jameal Kaia Phillip (30, Trinidad and Tobago), and Edward Soloman King III (31, Tampa) have pleaded guilty to federal charges. Oliver and Phillip pleaded to conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States, and King pleaded guilty to disposing of a firearm to an alien who had been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa. Oliver and Phillip each face a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison. King faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. The defendants also agreed to forfeit various firearms, ammunition, and related items, which facilitated the offenses.
According to the plea agreements, 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. Oliver and Phillip are both nationals of Trinidad. The firearms, which included pistols and long rifles, and related equipment were concealed within boxing/fight equipment, speakers, and other household items to avoid detection by law enforcement and customs authorities. King helped Phillip and Oliver acquire and transfer firearms in the Tampa area. Conspirators also acquired firearms 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 or about April 7, 2021, Oliver shipped a package concealing and containing various firearms and related equipment, including a Taurus G2C 9mm pistol, a SAR Arms SAR-9 9mm pistol, a Taurus G3 9mm pistol, and a Ruger Security-9 9mm pistol, from Miami to Trinidad and Tobago. Authorities in Trinidad seized those firearms and other related items at Piarco International Airport on or about April 22, 2021.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), including HSI’s Attaché (Caribbean), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of National Security (Transnational Organized Crime Unit) and Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (Special Investigations Unit), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.
This case is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level criminal organizations that threaten the United States using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach. Additional information about the OCDETF Program can be found at www.justice.gov/OCDETF.