Defendant Allegedly Trafficked Firearms to Family Member in the District of Columbia
WASHINGTON – Two men were indicted today on federal charges stemming from a firearms trafficking investigation focused on the summer of 2021.
Demetrius Minor, 31, of Maryland and Donald Willis, 50, of Washington, D.C. were indicted by a grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on federal charges related to the illegal transfer of firearms. Minor was indicted on a total of four charges including: engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license; illegal interstate transfer of firearms; sale of a firearm to a convicted felon; and conspiracy to commit an offense or defraud the United States. Willis was indicted on the charge of conspiracy.
The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Christopher Amon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Robert J. Contee, III, of the Metropolitan Police Department.
According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to traffic more than 30 firearms between April and October of 2021. Defendant Minor acted as the straw-purchaser of firearms from licensed gun stores (FFL’s) in the state of Maryland. After purchasing the firearms, Minor would transfer the guns to Willis in Washington, D.C., where Willis would pay Minor before reselling the guns.
The investigation began when two firearms purchased by Minor were recovered in a ten-day span within the District of Columbia. One of those firearms was recovered in November 2021, when Willis was arrested in an unrelated domestic violence incident. In that incident a handgun recovered from Willis had been reported stolen the same day by Minor, which triggered ATF to investigate Minor’s firearms purchases. The investigation revealed that Minor and Willis are related, and that Minor would legally purchase firearms in bulk from multiple gun stores in Maryland before transferring them to Willis, a prohibited person due to previous convictions, in exchange for cash.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty.
The charge of sale of a firearm to a convicted felon carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Each of the other charges carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum statutory sentence for federal offenses is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes. The sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
This case is being investigated by the ATF’s Washington Field Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney’s Samuel Frey and Paul V. Courtney, of the Federal Major Crimes Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.