October 15, 2007
Bad Weekend for T.I.
So I guess T.I.P. won
Department of Justice Press Release on T.I. Arrest
United States Magistrate Judge Linda T. Walker issued a federal criminal complaint after the arrest and search, charging HARRIS with the felony offenses of (1) possession of unregistered machine guns [and silencers] and (2) possession of firearms by a convicted felon. HARRIS will be held in federal custody over the weekend and then will make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman at the United States Courthouse in Atlanta on Monday, October 15, at a time to be determined by the court. The United States Attorney’s Office and ATF will hold a short news conference afterward at a location to be determined.
“Machine guns pose a serious danger to the community, which is why they are so carefully regulated,” said David E. Nahmias, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. “The last place machine guns should be is in the hands of a convicted felon, who cannot legally possess any kind of firearm. This convicted felon allegedly was trying to add several machine guns to an already large and entirely illegal arsenal of guns. Thanks to the good and quick work of ATF, he is now in custody and his firearms have been seized.”
“This investigation developed very quickly,” said Vanessa McLemore, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Atlanta Division. “We learned only this Wednesday that the cooperating witness was allegedly buying the machine guns for Harris. The cooperating witness told Harris on Thursday that he had obtained the items, and on Friday Harris made it clear that he wanted them delivered to him today. Harris then agreed to meet and took possession of the machine guns this afternoon. He now faces serious federal charges and a potentially long prison sentence.”
According to U.S. Attorney Nahmias and the information filed in court: On October 2, 2007, an employee of a federal firearms licensee advised ATF that an individual was seeking to purchase a machine gun without registering the weapon as required by law. The individual was directed to an ATF agent acting in an undercover capacity, posing as a machine gun dealer. Last Wednesday, October 10, 2007, the individual was arrested by ATF after purchasing three unregistered machine guns and two silencers from the undercover agent in exchange for $2,200 and a pistol. The individual then agreed to cooperate with ATF, including with respect to his purpose for obtaining the firearms.
The cooperating witness (CW) advised the agents that he was purchasing the machine guns on October 10 on behalf of CLIFFORD HARRIS, aka “T.I.,” an entertainer for whom the CW had been working as a bodyguard since July 2007. The CW admitted to straw purchasing about nine firearms for HARRIS and about 17 firearms for other persons on previous occasions. Firearm purchase records confirm that the CW has purchased about 25 firearms over the past 18 months. The CW said that HARRIS gave him cash to buy guns on four occasions. HARRIS asked the CW to purchase the firearms for him because HARRIS has a prior felony conviction and therefore cannot lawfully purchase or possess firearms under federal law, while the CW could lawfully obtain guns.
According to the CW, he purchased a Calico 9mm pistol on September 6, 2007, and delivered it to HARRIS at HARRIS’ house on Creekview Lane, where he also saw multiple firearms in a safe in the walk-in closet in HARRIS’ bedroom. The CW next purchased a Smith & Wesson .500 caliber revolver for HARRIS on September 18, 2007, delivering it to an associate of HARRIS’ to give to HARRIS. On or about September 26, 2007, the CW purchased seven more firearms, three rifles and four handguns, using $7,000 in cash provided by HARRIS, and delivered the firearms to HARRIS at the Creekview Lane house.
Finally, last Wednesday, October 10, 2007, HARRIS arranged for the CW to pick up $12,000 in cash from HARRIS’s bank, telling the CW to use the funds to purchase machine guns for HARRIS. The CW was arrested later that day when he attempted to purchase three machine guns and two silencers from the undercover ATF agent.
After agreeing to cooperate with ATF, the CW had a series of telephone calls with HARRIS, which were recorded by ATF with the CW’s consent. On Thursday, October 11, 2007, the CW called HARRIS to say that he had”everything for you,” referring to the machine guns he was supposed to purchase on Harris’ behalf; HARRIS replied affirmatively.
On Friday, October 12, 2007, HARRIS called the CW. The CW asked HARRIS when he wanted to take delivery of what the CW had, and HARRIS told the CW that he would take delivery today, Saturday, October 13, 2007.
After the CW left HARRIS a message this morning, shortly after noon HARRIS called the CW to arrange the pick up. At approximately 2:22 p.m., HARRIS met with the CW in a shopping center parking lot in midtown Atlanta to take possession of the firearms. The meeting was recorded by ATF. The CW entered the vehicle that HARRIS was driving and displayed to HARRIS the two silencers and three machine guns that the CW had purchased from the undercover ATF agent on October 10. When the CW explained the function of one silencer, HARRIS said “no flash, no bang.”
The CW and HARRIS also discussed the selector switch of one of the machine guns, which switches the gun from semi-automatic to fully automatic fire. HARRIS also asked the CW for “change leftover” from the $12,000 that he provided the CW to purchase the firearms.
HARRIS was arrested without incident. A subsequent search of the vehicle located three other firearms, including one loaded gun tucked between the driver’s seat where HARRIS had been sitting and the center console.
Shortly after the arrest, ATF agents executed a federal search warrant for HARRIS’ house at 429 Creekview Lane in College Park. In a walk-in closet in HARRIS’ bedroom, the agents found six more firearms (three rifles, two pistols, and a revolver), including three of the guns that the CW had said he purchased for and delivered to HARRIS in September. Five of the six guns were loaded.
Members of the public are reminded that the criminal complaint only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the ATF, with assistance from the United States Marshals Service, the Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County Police Department, and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department
Click more for the actual affidavit
1 AFFIDAVIT I, Jason S. Stricklin, being duly sworn depose and state the following: 1. Your affiant is currently employed as a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) assigned to the Atlanta Field Division, Atlanta Group I, and has been so employed since 2005. Your affiant has received training from ATF in the registration, possession, and identification of machineguns and silencers. Your affiant has conducted and participated in numerous investigations involving Federal firearms violations to include violations of Title 18 and Title 26 of the United States Code. Your affiant’s duties and responsibilities involve investigations of violations of Federal criminal laws and your affiant knows that it is a violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 5861(d), for any person to receive or possess a firearm that is not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Your affiant also knows that it is a violation of Title 1
8, United States Code, Section 922(g) for a person previously convicted of a felony to be in possession of a firearm.
2. This affidavit is being filed based on the personal knowledge and observations of the affiant and other law enforcement personnel, and interviews with witnesses, and reviews of government and business records, including records, reports, and information from the ATF. This affidavit is intended to support probable cause but it is not intended to convey all the facts of the investigation. 2
3. On October 2, 2007, an employee of a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) contacted ATF with information regarding an individual who had been inquiring about purchasing a machine gun without registering the weapon as required by law. This individual, who is now a cooperating individual (hereinafter “CW”), was identified by the FFL by name and other identifying information. ATF Agents provided an undercover cellular phone number for the FFL to give to the CW, and told the FFL to tell the CW the number would contact a person with machine guns for sale. The aforementioned cellular telephone number retur
ned to an ATF agent, acting in an undercover capacity (U/C Agent), posing as a “machine gun” seller/dealer. Within hours of receiving the cellular number, the CW telephoned the U/C and had a discussion about the firearms he (U/C) had available for sale. During the conversation, the CW asked if the firearms were “fully” automatic. The CW told the U/C that he was interested in purchasing the machine guns.
4. On October 10, 2007, the U/C contacted the CW and asked him if he was still interested in meeting to purchase the machine guns. the CW stated that he was and agreed to meet at a K-Mart Shopping Plaza located at 5997 Buford Highway, Doraville, Georgia. At approximately, 4:40 p.m., the CW arrived and met with the U/C to observe the firearms, which were actual machine guns. The CW had a further discussion about the firearms firing “fully” automatic. The CW agreed to exchange $2200 and a Bushmaster, Model C-15, .223 caliber pistol, s/n D10867 for the following firearms: an, s/n 2-3005561, an SWD Inc., 9mm silencer, s/n N767, a Military Armament Corp., 9mm silencer, s/n 2-2001231, a SWD Inc., Model M-11, 9mm 3 caliber machine gun, s/n 86-0008212 and a H&K, Model SP89, 9mm caliber machine gun, s/n 21-17411.
5. During the meeting between the U/C and the CW, the CW questioned the U/C if he (the CW) would get into trouble if law enforcement caught him in possession of the machin
e guns. The U/C told the CW that the firearms were not legal to possess without the proper paperwork because they had to be registered. The U/C further told the CW there would be a problem if he were caught with them. The U/C told the CW that the aforementioned firearms did not have the required legal paperwork. The CW indicated that he understood and stated that he wanted to purchase the firearms anyway. The exchange of money and guns then took place. The firearms were not registered to the CW in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, nor had the CW applied for the proper paperwork.
6. Following the transfer of the machine guns from the U/C to the CW, the CW was arrested. After his arrest, the CW agreed to speak with agents. During this and subsequent interviews with the CW, the CW told agents the following: a. The CW stated that he was purchasing the machine guns on 10/12/07 on behalf of another person. The CW stated that he knew it was illegal for him to possess machine guns without properly registering them. The CW said he was buying the machine guns and silencers for CLIFFORD HARRIS, a/k/a “T.I.” for whom the CW had been working as a bodyguard since July of 2007. The CW
admitted to 4 straw purchasing approximately nine (9) firearms for HARRIS and approximately seventeen (17) additional firearms for individuals other than HARRIS. [Review of records of firearms purchases, ATF Forms 4473, has confirmed that the CW has purchased approximately 25 firearms over the last 18 months.] The CW said that HARRIS gave him cash to buy guns for HARRIS on four different occasions. HARRIS is prohibited from purchasing firearms for himself because he has been convicted of a felony offense, so he asked the CW to purchase the firearms for him (HARRIS). [It is a violation of federal law for a prohibited person, such as a convicted felon, to have another person purchase or acquire firearms for the prohibited person.] b. On 9/6/07, HARRIS gave the CW cash and asked the CW to buy a caliber pistol. [The CW is not a convicted felon or otherwise prohibited from purchasing firearms.] The CW bought the pistol at The Gun Store, a federal firearms licensee (FFL), and gave the firearm to HARRIS at his home at 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia. The CW said that HARRIS resides at 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia. [Investigation of public records confirmed that 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia, is a residence associated with HARRIS. This address is within the Northern District of Georgia.] On the same date, when the delivery of the Calico 9mm pistol occurred, HARRIS invited the CW into his bedroom at the house and showed the CW
a safe in his (HARRIS’s) bedroom. The CW observed the safe inside a walkin closet in the bedroom. The safe was tall enough for a person to enter, and the 5 CW witnessed HARRIS open the safe using a fingerprint- reading scanner type lock, and possibly a keypad as well. Inside the safe, the CW saw multiple short rifles. HARRIS showed the CW an assault-type rifle in a black bag inside the safe. HARRIS told the CW the weapon was a machine gun. c. On 9/18/07, HARRIS gave the CW $1000 in cash and asked him to buy a Smith & Wesson .500 caliber revolver. An associate of HARRIS’s known as “ALPHAOMEGA” followed the CW to The Gun Store. The CW purchased the revolver at The Gun Store and gave it to “ALPHAOMEGA” to give to HARRIS. d. On or about 9/26/07, HARRIS called the CW and told him that he (HARRIS) wanted the CW to acquire more firearms for him. HARRIS specifically asked the CW to purchase a Smith & Wesson .460 caliber revolver for him. HARRIS gave $7000 in cash to an associate known as “C-ROD” to give to the CW. The CW went to The Gun Store and purchased 7 firearms, (3 rifles and 4 handguns), including the Smith & Wesson .460 caliber revolver. The CW delivered all 7 firearms to HARRIS at HARRIS’s house on Creekview Lane. After the CW brought the aforementioned 7 firearms to HARRIS’s house, HARRIS directed the CW to bring the guns to HARRIS’s bedroom. The CW gave HARRIS the firearms in HARRIS’s bedroom. The CW observed HARRIS handle the firearms. [The purchases of firearms by the CW on 9/6/07, 9/18/07, and 9/26/
07 were confirmed by ATF agents by reviewing ATF Forms 4473, obtained from The Gun Store.] 6 e. The CW said that on 10/10/07, HARRIS arranged for the CW to pick up $12,000 in cash from HARRIS’s bank – the SunTrust Bank on Northside Parkway in Atlanta. HARRIS instructed the CW to meet with a specific bank employee to get the cash. The CW went to the bank, met with the bank employee, and was given the cash by that bank employee. HARRIS told the CW to use the funds to purchase machine guns for HARRIS. [Investigation has confirmed that there was a $12,000 cash withdrawal from HARRIS’s account at SunTrust Bank on 10/10/07. And when the CW was arrested later on that same date, 10/10/07, he was in possession of several thousand dollars in cash.]
7. On 10/11/07, after being arrested and agreeing to cooperate, the CW agreed to make a consensually monitored phone call to HARRIS. At approximately 9:00 pm, after the CW had called HARRIS and left a message for HARRIS to call the CW, HARRIS’s primary bodyguard called the CW’s cell phone to discuss when the CW was going to be needed to provide bodyguard services for HARRIS. During this conversation, HARRIS, using his
bodyguard’s phone, began to converse with the CW. The CW told HARRIS that he, the CW, had “everything for you,” referring to the machine guns and silencers he had purchased on HARRIS’s behalf. HARRIS replied affirmatively.
8. On 10/12/07 the CW received a consensually monitored call from HARRIS. The CW asked HARRIS when he wanted to take delivery of what the CW had in his possession. HARRIS requested immediate delivery. After the CW told HARRIS he was not available to deliver immediately, HARRIS told the CW he would take delivery Saturday, 7 October 13, 2007. The CW told agents that he and HARRIS were referring to the firearms purchased by the CW for HARRIS on October 10, 2007.
9. Investigation has revealed that HARRIS is a convicted felon, and is prohibited from
possessing firearms. On June 1, 1998, HARRIS was convicted of a Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act in the Superior Court of Cobb County, and received a sentence of 7 years probation. HARRIS has additional arrests and at least one probation violation for unlawfully possessing firearms.
10. A check of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record showed that there is no record of any machine gun or silencer registered to HARRIS.
11. On October 13, 2007, at approximately 10:08 am the CW left a message for HARRIS to call. Between approximately 12:30-1:00 pm, HARRIS called the CW and asked the
CW to bring the items to a (recording) studio. The CW suggested instead, as directed by ATF, that they meet at a shopping center parking lot on the corner of Piedmont Avenue and North Avenue in the city of Atlanta, in the Northern District of Georgia. HARRIS told the CW they could meet in about an hour.
12. At approximately 2:22 pm on October 13, 2007, HARRIS arrived at the pre-arranged meeting location. The meeting was consensually recorded. The CW entered the vehicle HARRIS was driving and displayed the silencers and machine guns to HARRIS. When the CW explained the function of one silencer, HARRIS said “no flash no bang.” When the CW showed HARRIS one of the machine guns, HARRIS asked the CW what the “E” 8 position on the selector switch signified. The CW explained that the “E” stood for semiautomatic function and that “you know what the “F” is for.” HARRIS acknowledged that he did. “F” stands for fully automatic function. HARRIS inquired about ammunition for the firearm, and asked about the capacity of the magazine. HARRIS asked the CW for “change leftover” from the $12,000 he provided the CW to purchase the firearms. HARRIS was then arrested without incident.
13. A subsequent search located three firearms in the vehicle HARRIS was driving, including one loaded firearm tucked in between the driver’s seat and the center console.
14. At approximately 2:40 pm on October 13, 2007, a federal search warrant was executed at HARRIS’s house at 429 Creekview Lane, College Park, Georgia. In a walk-in closet
in the bedroom identified as belonging to HARRIS, agents found a Colt model AR15 .223 caliber rifle, bearing serial number LE033297, a DPMS model AP4 .308 caliber rifle, bearing serial number 14056, and a Calico model L3 9mm caliber pistol, bearing serial number B004397. Agents have confirmed each of the preceding three firearms were the same as those purchased by the CW for HARRIS on September 6, 2007 and September 26, 2007. Agents also found a Colt .44 magnum revolver, a CAI 7.62 x 39 caliber rifle, and a Bushmaster 5.56 caliber pistol in the same closet in the same bedroom. Some of the firearms were in the closet, and some were inside the closet inside the safe the CW previously described. Agents also found that five of the firearms
15. Title 26, United States Code, Chapter 53 requires that machine guns and silencers be registered with the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Title 26, United 9 States Code, Section 5845 defines the firearms to be registered according to this chapter, and included in section 5845(a)(6) a machine gun and section 5845(a)(7) any silencer. Title 26, United States Code, Section 5861(d), makes it unlawful for any person “to receive or possess a firearm which is not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.” Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g) makes it unlawful for any person who has been convicted of a felony offense to possess, in or affecting commerce, firearms.
16. All of the firearms recovered were manufactured in whole or part outside the State of Georgia, and, therefore, moved in or affected interstate commerce.
17. Based on the foregoing facts your affiant respectfully submits that probable cause exists to believe that CLIFFORD HARRIS has committed the offense of possession of unregistered machine guns and silencers, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 5861(d); and of possessing firearms in or affecting interstate commerce, after having been convicted of a felony, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g).