Kansas City fire captain charged with selling guns illegally to felons

Credit: Sean Gallup

Credit: Sean Gallup

A captain in the Kansas City Fire Department was charged with illegally selling firearms to people he allegedly knew were felons, the Kansas City Star reported.

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James Samuels, 52, was charged in U.S. District Court with the sale of a firearm and ammunition to a prohibited person and knowingly transferring a firearm for use in a crime of violence, according to court records.

Samuels was arrested Thursday after an undercover operation, KCTV reported. According to police, Samuels sold a .38-caliber revolver to an informant he knew was a felon. The transaction was made through an undercover federal agent posing as a buyer, the television station reported.

Federal prosecutors said Samuels bought 77 firearms over the last several years and gave some of them to a co-conspirator who reported the weapons had been stolen, the Star reported. Some of the weapons were handguns, while others were AR-15s , the newspaper reported.

“Those who supply dangerous firearms to violent criminals are as much a threat to the safety of our community as the criminals themselves,” Timothy Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri, wrote in a statement. “We will aggressively prosecute not only those who illegally possess firearms, but also the suppliers whose criminal conduct enables them to arm themselves with these weapons.”

Federal prosecutors said Samuels, who has worked for the Fire Department for more than 20 years, purchased mostly handguns over the last several years and that six of those weapons had been used in other crimes.

Samuels is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 11, the Star reported.

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