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August 14, 2009

Task Force Takes Down Assault Weapons Dealer in Glassboro

Glassboro, Gloucester County, NJ -  A joint state/federal law enforcement task force has arrested a man for selling high-powered weapons to an undercover state trooper.  The New Jersey State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Glassboro Police Department worked cooperatively to arrest Horace Dixon, Jr., 50, on warrants.  Dixon was taken into custody by a State Police tactical squad in the parking lot of a Glassboro bowling alley on Rt. 47 about noontime yesterday.  Dixon attempted to flee the scene briefly in the 1991 Chevrolet S-10 Blazer he was driving and rammed an unmarked troop vehicle causing minor damage.  There were no injuries in the crash.

In the Blazer at the time of his arrest, Dixon had a 37mm projectile launcher with ammunition that he had arranged to sell to an undercover State Police detective.  It was not the first weapon sold by Dixon in such a transaction.  In early July, Detectives with the Glassboro Police Department learned of two assault rifles for sale and contacted the ATF, which is part of a Joint Firearms Task Force with the New Jersey State Police. 

On July 6, 2009, Dixon sold the two weapons to an undercover trooper.  They were an Israeli Military Industries, Galil Sporter, .223 caliber assault rifle with high-capacity magazines and a Marlin "Bull Pup" 9mm assault rifle.  On July 17th, the same detective purchased two more assault weapons, a Norinco SKS .556 caliber and an FEG SA200M .762 caliber rifle.  On August 7th, two more weapons were purchased: a Romarm/Cugir SAR3 .223 caliber assault rifle and a Bersa .380 handgun.

 Arrest warrants were issued for Dixon on August 12, 2009 for those previous arms sales and bail was set at $75,000 by Judge Walter L. Marshall, Jr. of Gloucester City.   Charges included illegal possession and sale of assault weapons and other firearms.  He was lodged in Gloucester County Jail in default of bail.  Additional charges will be filed by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, which is prosecuting the case against Dixon.

On Thursday, ATF agents, Glassboro detectives and state troopers converged on Dixon's residence to execute a search warrant on his property and vehicles.  They arrived around noon and continued their work into Friday.  Before anyone entered the two story house, the NJSP Bomb Squad cleared the dwelling.  Detectives and agents then began the search, wearing air filtration masks to protect them from potential health hazards encountered in the house.  Four dogs were taken from the home by animal control workers.

Additional weapons were discovered during the search including multiple high-powered, high-capacity assault rifles, semi-automatic handguns, and a WWI era machine gun.  The functionality of these weapons has not yet been established, and charges for these items have not been finalized because the search warrant continues at the time of this writing.

"This joint State Police, ATF, Glassboro Police initiative has shut down an extraordinarily dangerous gun trafficking operation," First Assistant Attorney General Ricardo Solano said. "In the hands of violent criminals, these deadly weapons would only have served to terrorize neighborhoods, putting the lives of residents and police officers at risk.  I commend all those who worked so diligently and courageously to arrest this trafficker."

"These are exactly the types of results that we expect when we work together and focus on public safety," said Matthew Horace, special agent in charge of the Newark field division.  "ATF's goal is to keep crime guns off the streets of New Jersey.  ATF will continue to look forward to expanding this initiative throughout the state and collaborating with as many of our law enforcement partners as possible."

"The weapons sold to our undercover trooper have one primary use, and that's to kill people," said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.  "I believe, without any equivocation, that murders have been averted by keeping these weapons off the streets, and I'm proud of the law enforcement coalition that made it possible," Fuentes added.

 "The success of this operation was a textbook example of joint operations and cooperation between federal, state and local municipalities.  Weapons such as these have no place on the streets of New Jersey or any other state," said Chief Alex Fanfarillo of the Glassboro Police Department.

The ATF/NJSP Joint Firearms Task Force was formed earlier this year  to track down illegal firearms sellers by tracing guns to their original sources.  Straw buyers, those who illegally buy guns for others, have been investigated and charged due to the work of the task force through the NJ Trace program.

The task force operates from the ATF Trenton Field Office.  In addition to ATF agents and state troopers, it includes officers from the Trenton Police Department, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, and the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, and is supported by local police departments on a case by case basis. 

In the nine months ending June 30, 2009, a total of 3,272 firearms have been recovered and traced in New Jersey, with 1,656 specifically sourced. About three-fourths, or 74.5 percent came from states outside of New Jersey.

Attorney General Anne Milgram has mandated that all crime guns seized by New Jersey law enforcement be entered into the program.  The additional data gives detectives a broader view of patterns showing gun sources.  This information has enhanced enforcement efforts to pinch off the supply of illegal guns in the state.

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