Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Division, and Roderick Porter, Bridgeport Police Chief, announced today that a federal grand jury in Bridgeport has returned an indictment against TYREE THOMAS, 36, of Bridgeport, on felony charges related to the illegal trafficking of firearms from Georgia to Connecticut.
The indictment was returned on July 19, 2023 and Thomas was arrested in Florida on September 6. He appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Dave Vatti in Bridgeport and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As alleged in the indictment and court statements, between approximately August 2021 and March 2022, Thomas traveled to Georgia to purchase firearms and transported the firearms back to Connecticut, where he sold or transferred them to others. Several of the firearms Thomas purchased in Georgia were seized by law enforcement in Connecticut, including one seized in connection with a murder.
The indictment also alleges that Thomas was previously convicted of drug and failure to appear offenses in a Connecticut court. It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony to possess a firearm or ammunition that has been moved in interstate or foreign commerce.
The indictment charges Thomas with crossing state lines to illegally traffic in firearms, a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, a felony punishable by a The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment and 10 years imprisonment.
Thomas has been in custody since his arrest.
U.S. Attorney Avery emphasized that an indictment is not proof of guilt. The charges are merely allegations and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Bridgeport Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren Clark and Rahul Kale.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s efforts to reduce violent crime. PSN is an evidence-based program proven effective in reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad range of stakeholders work together to identify the community’s most pressing violent crime problems and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and rehabilitation programs to permanently reduce crime.