Warren Vernell Robertson, III, a prolific gun trafficker, along with two of his accomplices, has been sentenced for a variety of federal offenses involving the illicit resale of Georgia-sourced firearms on the streets of Baltimore, Maryland.
“Criminals who unlawfully traffic in firearms often only export crime and violence to other communities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “The impact of gun trafficking on our communities is especially acute now, given the uptick in violent crime occurring in many cities.”
“These defendants put guns in the hands of criminals,” said Arthur Peralta, ATF Atlanta Special Agent in Charge. “ATF will continue to focus its attention on anyone who chooses to arm criminals and willfully contribute to the violence harming our communities.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented in court: From 2018, through the date of his arrest in mid-2020, Robertson trafficked more than 100 firearms from Georgia to Maryland. During that time, Robertson paid at least four other people, including co-defendant Asante Moore, to unlawfully purchase firearms on his behalf. Robertson also purchased firearms online using nearly a dozen fictitious names and email addresses. Robertson then sold the firearms in Baltimore.
Several of the guns trafficked by Robertson were recovered by law enforcement officers and from individuals involved in criminal activities. For example, ATF agents in Maryland seized nearly a dozen pistols and a rifle from inside a rental car Robertson had driven from Atlanta. Additionally, only weeks after Moore purchased a semiautomatic pistol for Robertson, Baltimore police officers recovered the firearm from a drug dealer. The pistol was fully loaded at that time.
In addition, during the first three months of 2020, Moore purchased more than 20 guns for Robertson. On March 16, 2020, Moore, Robertson, and Robertson’s cousin, Erik Alfonso Cohen, Jr., traveled together to a pawn shop in Jonesboro, Georgia, to purchase three of those guns. At the time, Cohen was prohibited from possessing firearms because he had been convicted of a weapons-related offense in Maryland. Robertson’s criminal history also included convictions for drug possession and other offenses.
All three defendants pleaded guilty to the following offenses and were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Leigh Martin May:
- Warren Vernell Robertson, III, 25, of East Point, Georgia and Aberdeen, Maryland, was sentenced on March 10, 2021, to three years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty on November 20, 2020, to the offense of making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer.
- Erik Alfonso Cohen, Jr., 23, of Edgewood, Maryland, was sentenced on March 3, 2021, to one year, six months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Cohen pleaded guilty on December 3, 2020, to the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.
- Asante Moore, 24, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced on December 2, 2020, to three months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Moore pleaded guilty on September 9, 2020, to the offense of unlawfully dealing in firearms.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland provided valuable assistance.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Theodore S. Hertzberg prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.
This case was also brought as part of Project Guardian, a national Department of Justice initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws, including those related to firearms trafficking. More information about Project Guardian can be found at https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.