Pottstown Resident Arrested in Trafficking Case
NORRISTOWN PA – A 25-year-old Pottstown resident is among five individuals additionally arrested in a continuing investigation into alleged gun trafficking in Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele announced.
Maliqa Jack of Pottstown faces at least one felony count of corrupt organizations and conspiracy, and others are possible, Steele said. Jack was arraigned Aug. 4 (Wednesday) in the courtroom of Magisterial District Justice Margaret Hunsicker who set unsecured bail at $100,000, accompanied by conditions and pre-trial services monitoring.
Four more individuals arrested and arraigned were from Norristown and Philadelphia. Jack and others had previously been arrested and charged during February 2021, relating to their alleged involvement in procurement and trafficking of dozens of illegal firearms obtained through straw purchases.
Straw purchases are said to occur when a person with a clean background completes paperwork and purchases a firearm on behalf of another person to conceal true ownership of the firearm, Steele explained.
In the prior investigation, law enforcers identified 29 illegally purchased and distributed firearms. In the latest investigation, publicized Friday (Aug. 6) by Steele, they identified an additional 14 illegal purchases, including one firearm recovered July 31 by officers from a juvenile in Norristown.
The DA reported the additional arrests were the result of investigative work conducted since February in part by county detectives, the state Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bucks and Montgomery County Safe Streets Task Force, Pennsylvania State Police, Pottstown Borough Police, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Marvel, who is captain of the Pottstown Community Justice Unit, and Assistant District Attorney Samantha Arena of the Firearms Unit.
Anyone with information about any illegal firearms purchases and sales is asked to call the county Detective Bureau’s Crime Tip Line at 610-278-3648.
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