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Jersey City Man Sentenced In Virginia Gun-Running Scheme

Clifton Walston
Clifton Walston Photo Credit: U.S. Attorney's Office

A Jersey City man was sentenced to nearly three years in prison for masterminding a scheme to illegally bring firearms from Virginia to New Jersey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia said Monday.

Clifton "Moosky" Walston, 32, arranged to have Virginia residents purchase guns there for resale at a profit in New Jersey. The people involved were not licensed to conduct interstate firearms sales.

The scheme began in October 2017, when a convicted felon in Virginia who was an acquaintance of Walston's began buying weapons for New Jersey customers. Over the next several months, the two used a straw buyer to obtain multiple weapons, including a handgun that was recovered during a traffic stop.

Trafficking from out of state is a major source of weapons used by criminals in New Jersey, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The traffic in firearms from states where gun laws are less strict to states like New Jersey, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, is known as the "iron pipeline."

New Jersey's Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has said that up to 75 percent of weapons recovered in the state and tracked by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have come from out of state. In New Jersey, the weapons often wind up in the hands of convicted criminals who are barred from possessing weapons.

“ATF will continue to work diligently to uncover and expose firearms trafficking schemes such as we saw in this case as part of its mission to combat violent crime,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division. “Gun traffickers are not simply committing paperwork violations. These criminals put guns in the hands of serious criminals who pose a significant threat to the safety of our communities. I’m incredibly proud of the outstanding investigative work put in by the agents and prosecutors to bring to justice these two criminals.”

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