A Richmond man — described as “an experienced gun trafficker” and convicted of selling 39 firearms to a federal undercover investigator — was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.
Brian Anthony Samuels, 21, pleaded guilty in March to the unlicensed sale of dozens of firearms to another unlicensed person who was out of state or whom Samuels believed was out of state from last August to January.
Prosecutors sought a term of five years while Samuels’ lawyer asked U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. to impose a term of 30 months.
In a sentencing memorandum to Gibney, the U.S. attorney’s office wrote that Samuels “was so thoroughly engaged in this business that he is responsible for trafficking approximately 50 firearms, just in dealing with the undercover agent in this case.”
The weapons were sold over a four-month period last year.
An affidavit filed in the case by an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives alleged that firearms were purchased from Samuels or an associate with more than $25,000 in government money.
The weapons included handguns, an assault-style rifle and a pistol-grip shotgun. A search of his home turned up 14 more firearms.
A confidential informant last year told authorities that he or she knew that Samuels and an associate were trafficking firearms to Baltimore and that their customer had been locked up and Samuels was looking for a new buyer, the affidavit says.
The informant introduced Samuels to an undercover ATF agent who posed as the informant’s out-of-state cousin, authorities allege. According to the agent, the deals were done outside an address in the 300 block of East Ninth Street. The largest purchase was for 12 firearms for $10,000. At least one involved a man said to be an associate of Samuels.
At one point, Samuels allegedly asked the undercover investigator if he or she was taking the firearms to New York. The agent said he or she was, and Samuels allegedly indicated he once had someone he dealt with in New York.