CAMDEN, NJ – A Cherry Hill man who sold guns to a Camden drug dealer admitted his role in conspiring to sell at least 100 handguns without a federal firearms license, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Fr’Neil Hickson, a/k/a “Philly,” 38, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler in Camden federal court to to a charge of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a federal firearms license.
Hickson admitted that between December 2009 and April 2013 he sold or brokered the sale of at least 100 handguns obtained from sources outside of New Jersey. The investigation showed that Hickson obtained many of the weapons from Joshua Jackson, a/k/a “Apple,” a/k/a “Trent,” and that Jackson obtained most of the firearms through purchases at gun shows from unlicensed gun sellers without background checks.
Some of the firearms were also purchased at Ohio gun stores by straw purchasers working for Jackson, who transported the handguns to New Jersey and resold them to Hickson and Terrance Laboo, a Camden drug dealer.
Hickson also sold handguns directly to Terrance Laboo. At the time of the gun sales, Laboo was engaged with others in drug trafficking, including the sale of PCP and cocaine at the corner of 4th and Chestnut streets in Camden. Hickson and Laboo sold, directed or brokered the sale of many of the firearms to other drug dealers and felons in Camden and surrounding areas.
This case was part of a long-term investigation of illegal gun trafficking referred to as “Operation Buckeye,” as the bulk of the illegal guns recovered from felons in the Camden, Philadelphia and surrounding areas were originally purchased in Ohio.
On July 21, 2016, Laboo, who had previously pleaded guilty to dealing in firearms without a license, conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license, possession of firearms by a convicted felon, and distribution of a controlled substance, was sentenced by Judge Kugler to six years in prison.
The ATF investigation showed that the conspiracy involved the illegal acquisition, interstate transfer, and illegal sale of approximately 300 handguns to drug dealers and others.
The count of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license to which Hickson pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2018.