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Hundreds of guns illegally trafficked to Philadelphia, federal authorities say

14 people allegedly brought 400 firearms purchased in Georgia and South Carolina to the city.

  • Peter Crimmins/WHYY
ATF officials announced two federal indictments of 14 individuals charged with trafficking about 500 firearms from the Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to sell in Philadelphia, at a press conference on April 11, 2022.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

ATF officials announced two federal indictments of 14 individuals charged with trafficking about 500 firearms from the Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to sell in Philadelphia, at a press conference on April 11, 2022.

(Philadelphia) — More than 400 illegal guns originally bought in southern states have been tracked to Philadelphia.

The office of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms has identified two separate straw purchasing operations in what is called the “Iron Pipeline,” buying guns in bulk and routing them into northern states.

Eleven people have been indicted as part of a straw purchasing ring out of Georgia.

“These conspirators purchased nearly 300 firearms from dealers around Atlanta over the course of six months and transported them to Philadelphia for sale on the black market for over $100,000,” said U.S. Attorney Jennifer Williams.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

Jennifer Arbittier Williams, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pa., said that 2 people who are charged in firearm trafficking to Philadelphia are currently detained and awaiting trial, at a press conference on April 11, 2022.

A second straw purchasing operation out of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, put over 100 guns into Philadelphia’s illegal market. Three people have been indicted in that ring.

Williams described the investigations and indictments while flanked by dozens of the seized weapons, ranging in size from small-caliber pistols and .223 caliber semiautomatic rifles.

Dozens of guns known to have been resold by the two straw purchasing operations are still at large, according to ATF Special Agent Matthew Varisco.

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