3 California Men Indicted for Arms Trafficking

(TargetDailyNews.com) – California law enforcement has nabbed three men for firearms trafficking and illegal possession of a gun by a felon.

The three men—McCael Marshall, 34; Donnie Hicks, 33; and Wendell Moton, 33; were indicted by a federal grand jury, officials announced June 6th. There are five counts of conspiracy to traffic firearms and illegal possession in the indictments.

Phillip A. Talbert, U.S. Attorney, announced the indictments about a week ago. Case paperwork accuses the three men of trying to sell a machine gun to someone who contacted them on the Internet. When the men traveled to meet the prospective customer, they were met by cops instead. One suspect, Wendell Moton, allegedly had a gun on him which was connected to an earlier incident in which he ran away from police to avoid arrest.

The arrests and indictments happened because of “Operation Gridlock,” an ongoing investigative program trying to nab criminal gangs in California. Several law enforcement agencies are working together in the program, including the Fresno Police Department and the Sheriff, the FBI, the California Highway Patrol, the Fresno district attorney’s office, and others.

According to the California Attorney General’s office, Operation Gridlock has already been a success. Since it launched in late 2023, the program has resulted in more than 30 arrests and more than 50 seized weapons that officials say were part of illegal arms trafficking.

It is also connected to “Project Safe Neighborhoods,” a cooperative inter-office law enforcement project that aims to decrease gun violence to keep neighborhoods safe. The federal Department of Justice boosted the program starting in 2021 with a focus on bringing together local community organizations to tackle everyday violence.

If the three indicted men are convicted, they face a maximum of 15 years behind bars and fines of up to $250,000.

Prosecutors are carrying forward the case under new sections of the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed in June 2022. It is the first federal law to specifically target illegal firearms trafficking.

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