YONKERS, N.Y. — A Newton County man is among two charged with traveling from Georgia to New York to sell firearms after an April 20 incident in which a third suspect shot and seriously injured a police detective in the city of Yonkers.
Xavier Simms, 22, of Covington, and Bryce Martin, 23, of Hampton, are facing one count each of conspiring to traffic firearms which could carry up to five years in prison, a news release stated.
Another man they traveled with from Georgia to New York — identified by a New York newspaper as Bryant Jackson, 28, was killed after he shot the detective at close range and another federal agent returned fire as law enforcement attempted to interdict in the crime.
Michael J. Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge of the New York Office of the FBI, said on April 21, “As we allege today, Mr. Martin and Mr. Simms conspired to illegally traffic firearms, and, when law enforcement attempted to intervene, one of their co-conspirators shot and critically wounded one of our task force officers.
"Subsequent investigation resulted in the recovery of several firearms, including a "ghost gun," an untraceable type of weapon that continues to pose a significant threat in our communities.
"We are grateful for the survival of our partner, and our thoughts remain with him and his loved ones as he continues to recover from his injuries,” Driscoll said.
Yonkers Police Department reported on its Facebook page April 20 that task force members attempted to stop the three as they entered a deli on Elm Street in Yonkers, which is near New York City.
"A Yonkers Police detective assigned to the task force attempted to detain one of the suspects inside the store when that suspect fired a concealed handgun at the detective, striking him in the abdomen; a federal agent returned fired, striking the suspect.
"The detective underwent emergency surgery for life-threatening internal injuries; he is currently listed in serious but stable condition. The 28-year-old suspect was declared deceased at the hospital.
"Two illegal firearms were recovered at scene. Surveillance video captured the shooting event."
Later investigation revealed that Simms and Martin traveled together with the alleged shooter from Georgia with several firearms to sell, the release stated.
Evidence recovered from their cellphones showed that Simms and Martin both had access to specialized firearms, including machine gun-style weapons, the release stated.
Four guns allegedly connected to the Georgia trio were recovered by authorities, all found in the deli, it stated.
The Rockland/Westchester Journal News reported that two firearms were recovered in the deli immediately after the shooting, including the ghost gun.
FBI special agent George Lane wrote in a complaint that another two guns were recovered later that day inside the deli's bathroom, which Simms admitted were his, the Journal News reported.
It reported that Georgia is one of the states authorities have identified as a supplier of illegal guns into New York along what is commonly known as the "iron pipeline," a route from one of six southern states to the Northeast where guns are typically smuggled.
Sellers often can receive five times their price in New York from one of these states, according to federal authorities, the newspaper reported.