Federal agents yesterday seized more than 700 uncommon weapons - including submachine guns, sawed-off shotguns and bazookas - and an estimated 60,000 rounds of ammunition in a crackdown on illegal firearms sales in Maryland and Virginia.
Five persons, including two gun dealers, were arrested in the crackdown and arrest warrants are out for two others, according to Les Stanford, a spokesman for the regional office of the U.S. Alcoho, Tobacco and Firearm Administration in Baltimore.
Stanford displayed several of the confiscated items at a news conference in Baltimore and said: "We could start a pretty good war with these weapons." In front of him, next to the submachine guns, sawed-off shotguns and bazookas, were hand grenades, mortars, silencers and more conventional firearms.
John Rowley, special agent in charge of the AFT's Baltimore office, said yesterday's raids on 13 locations stemmed from a year-long investigation during which his agents "became aware of significant amounts of illicit firearms traffic." He said the investigation "could eventually result in the arrests of more than 40 persons."
Stanford said many of the sales were taking place at gun shows and on parking lots. Others were made at gun dealer's stores, but without the proper licenses or with falsified or incomplete records. He noted that hundreds of documents and records also were seized in the raids and said they could prove valuable in tracking down more illicit sales.
Those arrested were James J. Gannon, a Burke, Va., resident, charged with illegal possession and transfer of unregistered firearms; Aton C. Beamon, a gun dealer from Glen Burnie, Md., charged with illegal sale of firearms; Ricahrd Boulin, a gun dealer from Gaithersburg, charged with illegal sale of firearms and falsifying firearms records; Roy J. Fogle of Alexandria, charged with illegal possession of a hand grenade; and Clarence W. Souders, of Westminster, charged with illegal possession and transfer of unregistered firearms.