Click here for a copy of the federal grand jury indictment.
"The Burnes Indictment"
Shocking charges of gun trafficking leveled against five people have been the subject of coverage in local mainstream media, and more granular in-depth coverage by JNS guest blogger Jordan North. Now, quite unexpectedly and without a lot of effort on my part, the federal grand jury indictment has fallen into my hands, see the link above.
The document provides some...
...further degree of insight into the charges, though Star Tribune and other local media have covered the story fairly well. Angela Carter and Jacquelyn Gina Burnes are accused of being the straw buyers in the transaction and--for what this is worth--the document forwarded to me bears the name "Burnes Indictment," which seems to tell me whoever named that document thought Burnes had some kind of lead role? Or, then again...
"Burnes" comes before "Carter" in the alphabet?
Angela Carter has gotten a lot of the attention in this case due to her role as a former Hennepin County security guard and then a South Minneapolis school employee. But looking at the allegations in the indictment Carter is alleged to have purchased two pistols; a Ruger and a Glock, as well as a 15 round magazine and two boxes of ammo for the Glock.
What did Burnes purchase? Allegedly?
Box of ammo. A Ruger pistol. A Glock and a 33 round magazine. In terms of buying stuff, allegedly, there isn't a lot of difference between Carter and Burnes.
And where did this stuff end up? Allegedly in the hands of the other defendants who were the true and intended owners:
Keniko Duane Bland. Diontre Ramone Hill. And Raheem Abdul Watkins, who isn't even allowed to posses a firearm because he's a felon.
Bill's Gun Shop And Range, And God Bless America
The purchases were allegedly made at Bill's Gun Shop and Range. I assume this means the location in Robbinsdale, which sits not far from where North Minneapolis shooting victims routinely die at North Memorial Medical Center. But this blog isn't going to be hard on Bill's, which is a fine gun store. The way I read the indictment, somebody at Bill's could smell "straw buyer" from the beginning and put the feds on the case.
Nothing says so directly, and admittedly I'm just going with my instincts, here...
But JNS blog has no criticism to make of the role of Bill's Gun Shop and Range. Generations of violent criminals in North Minneapolis have known better than to walk into Bill's--since Bill's caters more to decent people seeking home protection in North Minneapolis than violent criminals--but every generation apparently an object lesson is needed.
I'm guessing that object lesson would be Burnes and Carter, who just didn't have enough sense to drive a little further to, for example, the many pawn shops in St. Paul selling a variety of used guns. Furthermore, according to the indictment, Burnes tried to report her firearm had been stolen THREE WEEKS EARLIER.
What a comedy of errors. Were these suspects HIGH? (Allegedly?) The time to report a straw-purchased weapon stolen is not after it turns up where it's not supposed to turn up. You report it stolen THE VERY DAY YOU TURN IT OVER TO A CRIMINAL, if not sooner. That way somebody actually BELIEVES you. It's what Oliver North called "plausible deniability" during the Reagan Administration.
Which leads me to a frightening point. These straw buyers aren't even very skilled at straw buying. As far as finding the people putting guns upon our streets...
These are NOT those people. These suspects may be caught up in a high-profile criminal indictment for straw buying and gun trafficking, but they completely lack the skill set to succeed in the world in which they find themselves. At best they serve as an example of what happens when an amateur tries to act like a straw buyer. Who has the real skills, here?
The men who put these two women up to making the purchases.
Connecting Alleged Crimes With Addresses--NOT!
The federal indictment is a disappointing document in some ways, because it lacks addresses connected to the suspects, talking about "a particular address" upon such-and-such a street.
Like, really? Is this a federal indictment or an episode of Gossip Girl? The Hennepin County criminal complaints don't lack this information and make it easy to connect criminals with problem property owners. Worse yet, none of the folks named in this indictment are sitting in the Hennepin County Jail (I checked) because these are federal charges.
So I can't find their address THAT way. Keniko Bland does turn up, however, in an old Hennepin County Jail Roster:
1/27/2013.23:30 2013032969 BLAND, KENIKO.DUANE 2/10/1994 4110 LAKEBREEZE DR, BRKLYN CENTER, MN 55429
And Diontre Hill turns up the same way:
2012005888 HILL, DIONTRE.RAMONE 2/19/1993 1414 PLYMOUTH AVE N, MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55411 3/6/2012.09:37
In the case of Hill, who is listed at a North Minneapolis address, that gives me a better trail of information which leads to the Plymouth Townhouse Apt Association, who are located in Pasadena, California. The taxpayer for the property is listed as follows:
|Legacy Vlg Twnhms & Apts|
7151 York Ave S Edina Mn 55435
As for Raheem Abdul LEE Watkins, I actually had to dig as deep as something cached in Google, not turning up an address but determining his birthday is 1/4/1993. He was in jail on April 29 but was released May 5 of this year on a "Department of Corrections Hold." I assume the current charges made his supervised probation more difficult? The MN DOC website shows Watkins currently on "supervised probation."
As Always, More Info Is Sought
As much as I enjoy a new kind of document from an exciting and sophisticated new source, I must say...
I am left hungry and wanting more. So if anybody has further information about this case of alleged illegal firearm procurement, well, to use a quote from Starship Troopers:
YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!
(Um, leave some comments)