4 face federal gun charges in string of burglaries including Paris store

NASHVILLE — Four men are charged with federal firearms offenses in a string of gun store burglaries including one in West Tennessee.

Keith Swanson, aka “Lil Keith,” 22, James D. Hudgens, 26, and Karshma F. Dardy Jr., 20, all of Nashville, are charged with conspiracy to steal, possess and sell stolen firearms, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee.

Keshawn Martin was also charged in a federal criminal complaint on March 9 after being found with a pistol that had been stolen during one of the burglaries, according to the release.

According to the charging documents, between Jan. 10 and Feb. 18, five gun stores in Tennessee and Kentucky were burglarized, resulting in the theft of around 125 firearms.

If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy charge, up to five years in prison for selling firearms without a license, and up to 10 years in prison for possessing stolen firearms, and a $250,000 fine, according to the release.

The burglaries are listed below:

– Whittaker Gun Store in Owensboro, Ky., was burglarized on Jan. 10. Around 63 firearms were stolen.

– Wheeler’s Fastway Gun and Pawn in Bowling Green, Ky., was burglarized on Jan. 17. Around 26 firearms were stolen.

– Kwik Cash Pawn Shop in Smyrna, Tenn., was burglarized on Jan. 19. Eight firearms were stolen.

– King’s Firearms and More in Columbia, Tenn., was burglarized on Feb. 13. Around 24 firearms were stolen.

– Guns and Gear in Paris, Tenn., was burglarized on Feb. 18. Around 12 firearms were stolen.

Beginning in January 2018, Swanson and others began recruiting individuals, including juveniles, to participate in burglaries of area gun stores, according to the release.

During the investigation, agents found several “for sale” listings of similar firearms on the website, “Armslist.com.” Undercover agents were subsequently able to purchase several of the stolen firearms from Hudgens and Swanson, according to the release.

Hudgens and Swanson were charged in a criminal complaint Feb. 23 and taken into federal custody.

Agents interviewed Dardy on Feb. 23 while he was in custody at the Sumner County Jail on carjacking charges, according to the release. Agents were able to develop enough information to implicate his participation in some of the gun store burglaries, the release says. He was subsequently charged Feb. 28 in a federal criminal complaint.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Metropolitan Nashville Police Department; the 18th Judicial District Drug Task Force; the Hendersonville Police Department; the Gallatin Police Department; the Henry County Sheriff’s Office; the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office; and the Davies County, Kentucky, Sheriff’s Office.

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