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Authorities: 8 indicted in gun sales could ‘equip a small, paramilitary force’

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CLEVELAND- Local and federal authorities shared the results of an undercover investigation into illegal firearm sales in Cleveland on Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach was joined by representatives from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Cleveland Division of Police and the FBI to announce eight people were indicted and 30 firearms were seized.

"The individuals we are talking about in these cases are people who were literally selling arsenals of heavy firepower. Enough to equip a street gang, enough to equip a small, paramilitary force," Dettelbach said.

Illegal firearms suspects

They arrested Brain Abernathy, Arllie Jones, Joyce Minter, Joseph Moore and Darryl Thompson following the long-term, undercover operation by the ATF into the sales of guns and crack cocaine in Cleveland's Fourth District. Authorities are still searching for Christopher Scott, Thomas Scott and Richard Smith.

"Dealing with the crime problem in this city is going to take more than just arrests," Dettelbach said. He said it will take efforts from parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and mentors, and people putting a greater value on human life.

He added these individuals do not appear to related to recent high-profile cases, like the shooting deaths of children, or the gun store break-ins.

"Those incidents are tragic. The young children," Dettelback said. "They are just emblematic symbols for violence that happens in this community everyday."

U.S. Attorney’s Office