CAMDEN, N.J. – A convicted felon and his girlfriend were sentenced today to prison for their roles in a scheme to buy firearms in Georgia and transport them to New Jersey for resale, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Anthony Doyle, 30, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and three years of supervised release; Anastacia Thomas, 28, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison and two years of supervised release. Doyle and Thomas, both of Fayetteville, North Carolina, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph Rodriguez to conspiring to illegally traffic firearms. Doyle also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Judge Rodriguez imposed the sentences today in Camden federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Jan. 25, 2018, law enforcement officers conducted a traffic stop of a car driven by Thomas and occupied by Doyle in Deptford, New Jersey. Law enforcement officers observed in plain view a Glock handgun, which was loaded with 14 hollow tip bullets. A search of the car and a backpack revealed four additional handguns and three firearm boxes.
The investigation revealed that from Nov. 30, 2017, to Jan. 25, 2018, Doyle and Thomas conspired and worked together to deal firearms without a license. Doyle, who was a convicted felon and therefore could not legally purchase firearms, was the driving force behind the conspiracy. He was responsible for selecting the firearms, transporting them up to New Jersey, finding buyers, and selling the firearms at a profit. Doyle used his social media accounts to advertise the firearms for sale, negotiate pricing, and arrange the sales. Doyle’s online discussions regarding illegal firearm trafficking are documented in hundreds of pages of online messages that were analyzed by law enforcement.
Thomas’ role in the scheme was to purchase firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers because Doyle could not do so as a convicted felon. She also purchased firearms from pawn shops, helped Doyle transport the firearms to New Jersey for resale and handled the profits from the resales.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the U.S. Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig B. Kailimai, Newark Field Division, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencings.