Feds shut down S.J. gang of gun runners

A gang of gun runners that bought dozens of pistols, shotguns and assault rifles from South Carolina for resale in New Jersey has been shut down by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said federal officials.

According to court papers, brothers Joseph and Marcus Rutling made weekly trips, driving or taking Amtrak to South Carolina to buy firearms and ammunition. When they returned, the brothers handed the guns over to a drug dealer, Shawn “Mello” Tribbett, and another man, Anthony Gilmore, for distribution.

From April 2013 through July 2014, a confidential source working for the ATF bought more than 20 of the firearms. Two of the guns had obliterated serial numbers and at least one had been reported stolen. All four men are previously convicted felons and prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law, according to an ATF affidavit.

In addition to the firearms, the gang sold the source bulletproof vests, cocaine, and illegal prescription drugs, according to an ATF affidavit.

For nine months, the confidential source carefully cultivated trust with the gang. In January 2014,  the gang began to unravel when police arrested Marcus Rutling on outstanding warrants. Joseph Rutling, Tribbett, and Gilmore were arrested last night and this morning. They were scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Camden this afternoon. Also charged on conspiracy and weapons counts were Lewis DiMattesa and a former day care teacher, Katelynn Schippnick.