Three Minnesota Men Charged in Machine Gun Distribution Ring
MINNEAPOLIS (WJON News) -- Three Minnesota men are being charged for their roles in a social-media gun distribution ring.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 19-year-old Rafael Wesley of Brooklyn Center, 23-year-old Kyrees Johnson of Minneapolis, and 22-year-old Avont Drayton of Burnsville have each been charged with one count of unlawful possession of machine guns.
Court records show that in March 2023, law enforcement suspected a Snapchat group called “BLICCS&STICCS3” was being used to traffick machine guns, firearms, and drugs in and around the Twin Cities.
Authorities saved screenshots and videos of several members of the group selling, promoting, and using machinegun conversion devices (MCDs). The devices convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic ones and are regulated under the National Firearms Act.
According to court documents, undercover law enforcement officers conducted six controlled buys with the group between March and June 2023.
In March 2023, an undercover officer posted a photo of a prop gun to the BLICCS&STICCS3 group and was contacted by Wesley who offered to trade the gun for Glock switches, a type of MCD. The officer agreed to buy three switches for $900 and offered an extra $100 if Wesley drove them up to St. Cloud. On March 27th, Wesley met the officer in St. Cloud and sold him the devices for $1000.
In early April, the same officer arranged and carried out a second buy with Wesley and Johnson for three more switches.
In mid-April, law enforcement bought a Glock without a serial number from Wesley for $700 and had him install one of the switches from a previous buy. That same day, officers met with Drayton to buy a 3D-printed drop-in MCD for an AR rifle for $550. During the buy, Drayton showed officers a video of himself using a gun with the device attached.
On May 11th, an undercover officer met with Drayton in Eagan to buy two more drop-in MCDs, but he only had one with him which he sold for $400.
Then in June, officers met Drayton again and bought a Glock and a switch for $1,300.
Records show prior felony convictions prohibit Johnson from having firearms or ammunition at any time, while Wesley and Drayton are subject to court-imposed restrictions that also prohibit them from possessing firearms.
The three men all had their first court appearances Thursday and Friday.