ACTIVE-DUTY MEMBER OF THE U.S. NAVY ADMITS ROLE IN INTERSTATE GUN TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY

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NEWARK, N.J. – An active-duty member of the U.S. Navy today admitted her role in a conspiracy to illegally purchase five semi-automatic handguns bound for New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Tesora Amanda Cortes Trejorojas, 24, of Norfolk, Virginia, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court to an indictment charging her with one count of conspiring with others to transport and receive in New Jersey firearms purchased and obtained outside the state.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Trejorojas admitted that in November 2017, she engaged in text messages with Azia Sinclair in which Trejorojas agreed to purchase firearms for Sinclair and her boyfriend, Shyheim Tyson, a/k/a “Shy,” who were both residents of New Jersey.

On Nov. 11, 2017, Sinclair and Tyson drove from New Jersey to Trejorojas’ residence in Norfolk. All three went to a gun store in Norfolk, where Trejorojas purchased five semiautomatic handguns, as well as 200 rounds of ammunition, with cash provided by Sinclair and Tyson. The next day, Sinclair and Tyson drove back to New Jersey with the five handguns and ammunition.

Approximately five hours after Sinclair and Tyson arrived back in New Jersey, an individual was arrested in Orange, New Jersey, after police officers responded to the sound of gunshots. During the arrest, police officers recovered one of the five handguns that Sinclair and Tyson had transported from Virginia to New Jersey.

In March 2018, law enforcement executed a search warrant on Sinclair’s residence in Newark, and found another of the guns that Sinclair and Tyson had transported from Virginia to New Jersey in November 2017.

Tyson pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport and receive in New Jersey firearms purchased and obtained outside the State of New Jersey, and he was sentenced on Jan. 7, 2019, to 37 months in prison. Sinclair is awaiting trial.

The conspiracy to traffic in firearms carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 25, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John B. Devito, Newark Field Division, and Special Agent in Charge Thomas L. Chittum III, Washington Field Division, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked the N.J. State Police; the Newark Department of Public Safety; and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) in Norfolk for their assistance.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of the Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations against Sinclair are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.