Thomas Harris Jr— a Saint Lucian residing in the United States of America— was last month sentenced to three years and ten months in prison, as well as three years of supervised release for multiple firearms trafficking offences. 29-year-old Harris Jr. was arrested in July 2020 and subsequently charged in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for making false statements to a federal firearm licensee, dealing in firearms without a license, delivering firearms to a common carrier without written notice and smuggling goods from the United States.
Prosecutors indicated that Harris Jr. purchased 38 firearms from gun shops in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and attempted to traffic the weapons to Saint Lucia. Fortunately, federal agents intercepted one of the packages destined for the island at the warehouse of a shipping company in the United States.
“Concealed in household items such as packages of diapers, cat litter and laundry detergent, the agents found seven Glock semiautomatic pistols, one Ruger semiautomatic pistol, two AK-47 pattern pistols, two AK-47 pattern rifles, two AR-15 lower receivers, two AR-15 upper receivers, ten high capacity Glock ammunition magazines, seven additional assorted ammunition magazines, and 815 rounds of ammunition,” the authorities said.
Defense attorney Louis Busico stated that his client came to the United States to better himself, “and he accomplished his goal, in part, by remaining gainfully employed and furthering his education.” Busico disclosed that Harris Jr. was born in Saint Lucia and completed his secondary education here. He moved to the United States in 2010 and attained an associate degree in computer networking.
“It would be disingenuous to in any way argue Mr. Harris Jr’s crimes are not very serious in nature,” the attorney noted, adding that although Harris Jr. was not precluded by law to purchase the firearms, attempting to ship them was egregious.
“Mr. Thomas Harris Jr. broke the law of both his home and adopted country,” Busico acknowledged. “However, there is absolutely no indication that Harris Jr. is part of any international gun smuggling cartel or gang.” Harris Jr’s interest in committing this offence, the attorney stated, was pecuniary in nature: after being shipped to Saint Lucia, the firearms could be “resold for a substantial profit.”
The attorney anticipates that after serving the sentence in the United States, Harris Jr. “will almost certainly be deported to Saint Lucia.”