Navy Sailor charged with conspiring to traffic guns out of Georgia

A federal grand jury has indicted an active-duty U.S. Navy Sailor and a former member of the Navy for allegedly buying dozens of guns in Georgia that were used in crimes in the New Jersey area.

Officials say 25-year-old Elijah Isaiah Boykin was arrested on Aug. 25 by Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agents at Naval Air Station Key West. The same day, 21-year-old Elijah Keashon Barnes was arrested in Newark, New Jersey.

Investigators say Boykin and Barnes served together in the Navy until 2020, when Barnes was discharged for "repeated violations of military law."

According to information presented in court, between April and August of 2020, Boykin bought more than two dozen firearms from dealers in Georgia and Virginia. In total, officials say Boykin spent over $17,000 on the guns and paid using a credit card owned by Barnes.

New Jersey law enforcement began removing the firearms around the area, including one pistol found in Barnes' car when he was arrested on a Virginia warrant for domestic assault and battery.

In one case, officials say they recovered a firearm linked to three different shootings in Newark, one of which was a violent mugging where the victim was shot multiple times.

Since October of 2020, at least six firearms bought by Boykin have been recovered around Newark.

"Federal law prohibits the making of false statements and misrepresentations to licensed firearms dealers," said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. "Individuals who use deception to buy guns intended for other people will face severe consequences, including imprisonment and the loss of valuable civil rights."

Boykin and Barnes, 21 were indicted for conspiracy to make false statements, three counts of making false statements to federally licensed firearms dealers, and one count of unlawful transfer of a firearm. 

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