WASHINGTON – Two men, both from Washington, D.C., have been indicted on federal charges alleging that they conspired for nearly two years to deal firearms -- including “ghost guns” -- to people in the District of Columbia who were prohibited or otherwise unable to legally obtain them.
The indictment was returned yesterday and announced today by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Milique Wilson, 37, and Joseph Vincent Smith, 36, were each indicted on charges of conspiracy, engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon. Both are detained pending further proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
According to the indictment, Wilson, Smith, and others conspired to obtain firearms from outside of the District of Columbia, including in locations in Maryland and Virginia, and transfer and transport these firearms to the District of Columbia and elsewhere. The indictment alleges that, on multiple occasions, Wilson and Smith contacted individuals prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms and sold at least five firearms -- including two unserialized privately manufactured firearms (also known as “PMFs” or “ghost guns”) -- to buyers. PMFs are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be bought online and assembled at home with a kit. In addition to firearms trafficking charges, Wilson and Smith are each charged with possessing firearms and ammunition as convicted felons.
Wilson was arrested on Aug. 27, 2021 by officers with the Metropolitan Police Department after he was allegedly seen brandishing a firearm in Southeast Washington. Officers located him in a vehicle in the drive-through of a fast-food restaurant in the 1400 block of Maryland Avenue NE and recovered an unserialized firearm (PMF) and ammunition. He has been in custody ever since. Smith was arrested at his residence on Sept. 22, 2021 for allegedly possessing a firearm and 20 rounds of ammunition. He also has been in custody since his arrest.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case is being investigated by the ATF Washington Field Office, with support from the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and the U.S. Marshals Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Fletcher and David Henek, of the Violent Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
District of Columbia