AUG 05 (CAMDEN, N.J.) -Five Camden County, N.J. men and a woman from South Carolina are charged with federal firearms violations following an investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that resulted in multiple arrests last night and this morning, and the confiscation of numerous guns bound for the streets of Camden, Clementon and Lawnside, New Jersey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Marcus Rutling, 32, of Camden and Saluda, South Carolina; Joseph Rutling, 23, of Camden; Katelynn Schippnick, 24, of Greeleyville, South Carolina: Shawn Tribbett, 32, of Camden, and Anthony Gilmore, 24, of Lawnside, are each charged with conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license. Tribbett and a sixth defendant: Lewis DiMatessa, 37, of Clementon, are also each charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Tribbett was arrested late yesterday and Gilmore, Schippnick and DiMatessa were arrested this morning by ATF special agents and members of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Special Response Team. The Rutlings were already in state custody on unrelated charges.
Tribbett, Gilmore and DiMatessa made their initial appearance in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider. All three were remanded to custody. Schippnick made her initial appearance in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kay West and was released on bond. She has been ordered to appear in New Jersey before Judge Schneider on Aug. 12, 2014. Joseph and Marcus Rutling will make their initial appearances on Aug. 26, 2014.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Over the course of the investigation, ATF special agents used a confidential informant to purchase at least 22 firearms from illegal gun brokers and dealers, including an assault rifle, shotguns, handguns and ammunition, as well as a bullet-proof vest.
The Rutlings sold guns – including the assault rifle – and ammunition out of several locations in Camden and Lawnside. The complaints charging them detail several transactions, including a sale in which the defendants provided the informant with a short-barreled shotgun out of their house in Camden. The men said they obtained the firearms in South Carolina and brought them to New Jersey on a weekly basis, at times using Amtrak trains to transport the guns.
Gilmore sold handguns, shotguns and a bullet proof vest, mostly from a house on LaPierre Avenue in Lawnside, with Tribbett and Schippnick serving as brokers for the transactions. Tribbett, a previously convicted felon, brokered a deal in which DiMatessa, also a convicted felon, sold a rifle to the informant.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the ATF special agents, under the direction of ATF Special Agent in Charge George Belsky in Newark, with the ongoing investigation, and thanked special agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of DEA Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, as well as officers from the Winslow Township and Clementon Police Departments, for their work leading to the arrests.
The conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison, and the felon-in-possession of a firearm charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew T. Smith and Jason Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.