Crime

Man gets prison in theft of 52 guns from Saucier store

Winters
Winters

GULFPORT -- A Gulfport man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for helping steal 52 firearms in last year's break-in at Friendly Pawn and Auto in Saucier.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden gave Octavia Jermaine Winters, 32, the maximum prison term Friday for stealing firearms from a licensed dealer.

Ozerden also fined Winters $4,000 and ordered him to help make restitution of $9,008.68.

Winters is one of four South Mississippi men who went to the store for a burglary the weekend of June 6. He pleaded guilty Jan. 11.

Winters received the same prison term as Tyson Lee Gaines Sr., 34, and Kevin Gerard Edwards, 51.

Former Columbia police officer Willie Carter, 34, received a 37-month prison term.

Andre Young, 54, was sentenced to 21 months in prison.

George Sullivan Jr., 43, also was indicted. He died in custody July 4 at the Stone County jail. Officials said he had health problems and died of natural causes.

Their arrests came after investigators identified Gaines in pictures taken by the store's security cameras. Federal agents placed Gaines under surveillance and began watching those he was associating with.

Sullivan had paid Young $50 to hide a bag of stolen guns under mattresses behind a store in Hardy Court Shopping Center. Sullivan drove Young to the drop-off spot. Undercover agents watched them and saw a different man retrieve the guns.

Agents followed them to Gaines' Gulfport house, where the arrests began.

Gaines told agents Winters and Edwards had burglarized the pawn shop and said Carter drove them there in a pickup truck. Gaines said he rode with them but didn't go inside. He also said Carter had helped arrange for the sale of stolen guns in meetings at places including a barber shop.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement administration and the Harrison County Sheriff's Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Annette Williams prosecuted the case.

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