PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Kenneth Eugene Cherry, Jr., 33, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to fifteen years in prison and three years of supervised release by United States District Judge Harvey Bartle III, for 27 counts of firearms trafficking offenses.
In August 2019, following a jury trial, Cherry was convicted of dealing in firearms without a license, possession and transfer of a machine gun, possession of an unregistered firearm, possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number, and multiple counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Utilizing a confidential source during a year-long investigation, federal agents conducted controlled purchases of a total of 45 firearms – 24 from Cherry and 21 from his co-defendant. The firearms purchased from Cherry included two Glock “Auto Sear” conversion devices that are classified as machineguns, an unregistered short-barreled rifle, and six additional assault-style rifles. Cherry also provided a large amount of ammunition with the firearms he sold, which were trafficked from Virginia up to Philadelphia to be sold on the street for profit.
“The defendant put large-capacity, semiautomatic weapons on the streets of Philadelphia, significantly contributing to the violent crime problem in our city,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Less than one week ago, I stood with our partners at ATF and the Philadelphia Police Department to discuss how the ATF’s NIBIN Van will be a critical resource to expedite ballistics testing of crime guns like the ones this defendant was trafficking. We are working around the clock and are ‘All Hands On Deck’ to put criminals like Cherry behind bars for a long time.”
“Knowingly selling firearms without a license is a violation of federal law, and by doing so, Cherry circumvented the very laws which are designed to protect communities,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division. “Public safety is ATF’s top priority, and we are committed to working alongside our law enforcement partners to seek justice above anything.”
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark S. Miller.