Man sentenced for Virginia-based gun trafficking scheme

Posted at 8:22 PM, Nov 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-10 20:22:56-05

NORFOLK, Va. – A New Jersey man was sentenced today to 34 months in prison for conspiring to purchase firearms in Virginia and traffic them to New Jersey for resale on the streets.

Clifton K. Walston

Court documents say that 32-year-old Clifton K. Walston, aka “Moosky,” of Jersey City, arranged for Virginia residents to obtain and traffic firearms from Virginia to New Jersey and sell the firearms in New Jersey to New Jersey residents for a profit. None of the conspirators was licensed to conduct interstate firearm transactions.

“ATF will continue to work diligently to uncover and expose firearms trafficking schemes such as we saw in this case as part of its mission to combat violent crime,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division. “Gun traffickers are not simply committing paperwork violations.  These criminals put guns in the hands of serious criminals who pose a significant threat to the safety of our communities.  I’m incredibly proud of the outstanding investigative work put in by the agents and prosecutors to bring to justice these two criminals.”

In early October 2017, a Virginia associate contacted Walston and asked how to make some easy money. Walston knew that the associate was a convicted felon and was prohibited from possessing firearms, but still said that if the associate were to obtain firearms in Virginia, he would set the associate up with prospective buyers in New Jersey, where it is much more difficult to obtain firearms. The two would then profit from the resale.

Over the next several months, the two men conspired together to use a straw purchaser to traffick multiple firearms from Virginia to New Jersey, including at least one firearm that was recovered by law enforcement during a traffic stop.

Within weeks of that arrest, Walston ordered three more handguns and an extended magazine from the Virginia associate. However, ATF agents arrested the Virginia associate before he could engage in additional firearms trafficking.