Saint Lucia police say they collaborated with US law enforcement in an investigation that led to the arrest of a man who was charged with multiple firearms trafficking offenses stemming from a scheme to sell guns to a buyer in this country.
The Eastern District of Pennsylvania ( a judicial district of the United States of America) announced Wednesday that 27-year-old Thomas Harris Jr. of Croydon, Pennsylvania was arrested and charged with the offences.
“The information resulting in this investigation emanated from Saint Lucia,” Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Crime Management, George Nicholas, told reporters at a news conference Friday.
Nicholas said there was a link between the US gun trafficking charges and the discovery earlier this year by Saint Lucia Customs of a barrel with 7 illegal firearms and ammunition.
“Another leg of the investigation continued in the US,” he explained, adding that the result was the arrest of Thomas Harris Jr..
“Obviously he will be tried in the US for the matter. Once there is a connection between the two we can also have him tried in Saint Lucia because we have this extradition agreement between Saint Lucia and the US,” Nicholas told reporters.
The indictment against Harris alleges that he purchased approximately 38 firearms in 12 transactions at two Bucks County, Pennsylvania , gun shops between April 20, 2019, and February 15, 2020, and provided a false address as his place of residence on the required federal forms that he completed during each transaction.
It is further alleged that the defendant then illegally trafficked, and attempted to traffic, the guns to Saint Lucia.
According to US law enforcement, one of Harris’ suspected packages to Saint Lucia was intercepted by federal agents at the warehouse of a shipping company in the USA.
They said concealed in household items such as packages of diapers, cat litter and laundry detergent, agents found “seven Glock semiautomatic pistols, one Ruger semiautomatic pistol, two AK-47 pattern pistols, two AK-47 pattern rifles, two AR-15 lower receivers, two AR-15 upper receivers, ten high capacity Glock ammunition magazines, seven additional assorted ammunition magazines, and 815 rounds of ammunition.
If convicted, Harris Jr. faces a maximum possible sentence of 80 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $3,750,000 fine, and a $1,500 special assessment.