Three Tennessee men including a Waffle House cook, who were nabbed March 16 in Brockton with a cache of guns and ammunition in their vehicle, were held without bail Tuesday after a prosecutor said they traveled to the City of Champions “to sell firearms” there.
Assistant Plymouth District Attorney Diana Fantasia made the assertion during a dangerousness hearing in Brockton District Court in the case against Domenick E. Barshaw and Christopher Smart, both 18, and Theodore E. Baskette, 20.
Video footage of the hearing was posted to the Brockton Enterprise website.
Baskette’s attorney said during the hearing that the 20-year-old works as a head cook at a Tennessee Waffle House and is the sole breadwinner for his mother and siblings.
But authorities say the defendants, who allegedly had nine firearms including an assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, weren’t looking to peddle breakfast fare when they headed north.
“These three defendants drove here from Tennessee in order to sell firearms in the city of Brockton,” Fantasia said. “We have two defendants who admitted to that in an interview. They came here with a substantial amount of firearms . . . to sell here in Brockton.”
The young men, she said, “had nine firearms in various locations inside that motor vehicle. . . . There [were] various types of ammunition including hollow points, as well as rifle ammunition.”
Hollow point ammo, she said, can tear internal organs and “mushroom out as soon as it hits something in order to cause” maximum damage.
“This situation could have been deadly,” Fantasia said.
But Victoria Bonilla, a lawyer for Barshaw, countered that evidence of an alleged plot to sell firearms was flimsy.
“The Commonwealth says what could have happened, what may have happened,” Bonilla said. “But the reality is, that there is no evidence that these people met with anyone, contacted anyone to say that there was going to be a sale.”
She continued, “Did they make some incriminating statements, that were not recorded, to an ATF agent? Yes, your honor, they did, according to reports I have been provided.” She also said Barshaw has been working at a metal factory in Tennessee.
Judge Julie Bernard sided with prosecutors and ordered the trio held without bail. A probable-cause hearing is slated for April 22.
Each defendant is charged with possession of a large-capacity firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a loaded firearm without a license, and possession of ammunition without an FID card, according to Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s office.
Not-guilty pleas have been entered on their behalf.
Here’s how the arrest went down around 11 a.m. on the morning before St. Patrick’s Day, according to police reports filed in court:
A 911 caller flagged a gold Honda parked on Thayer Avenue. The caller spotted a black bag containing a firearm on the roof of the car, police said. The caller also stated “that he just saw the passenger in the front put a handgun on the ground at his feet and that the occupants were putting on black gloves,” a police report said.
Officers arrived and “took the occupants” out of the vehicle one at a time, starting with Barshaw, the driver, records show. Barshaw was followed by the front passenger, Baskette, and Smart, who had been seated in the back.
There were black Kevlar gloves, two black face masks, and two red bandanas in the car, plus a miniature arsenal, according to court filings.
From the floor of the front passenger seat, cops seized a Glock 26 9-millimeter gun with a laser, a fully loaded 31-round Glock magazine, and 80 9-millimeter rounds in two Fiocchi Ammo boxes, records show.
The black bag on the roof contained a Glock 17 9-millimeter gun with a mounted flashlight; an M&P Bodyguard .380 box with a gun case, holster, and one six-round magazine; an empty .40 caliber 15-round Glock magazine; two fully loaded 9-millimeter 17-round Glock magazines; an empty 9-millimeter 17-round Glock magazine; two empty .45-caliber 13-round Glock magazines; one empty .40-caliber nine-round Glock magazine; 41 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition in a Fiocchi Ammo box; 69 rounds of 7.62 TulAmmo, and two oversize rounds of 7.62 TulAmmo, records show.
In the back seat, cops found 18 rounds of 9-millimeter ammunition in a small plastic bag and one “unknown caliber 21 round black Pmag (empty),” filings show. The front center console had three .40-caliber rounds, five 9-millimeter Luger hollow point rounds, and two 9-millimeter Luger rounds, cops said.
But the trunk had the biggest haul.
The cops discovered one Glock 21 .45-caliber firearm, a Taurus PT111 9-millimeter gun, a Taurus 9-millimeter magazine with three rounds loaded, a Glock 22 .40-caliber firearm, an empty .40-caliber 15-round Glock magazine, a Taurus PT140 .40-caliber gun, a fully loaded Taurus .40-caliber 10-round black magazine, an empty Taurus .40-caliber 10-round silver magazine, an M&P Bodyguard .380-caliber gun, an empty M&P .380-caliber six-round magazine, a Keltec p11 9-millimeter gun, an empty Keltec 9-millimeter 10-round magazine, an IO Inc. Sporter AK-47 7.62 firearm, one fully loaded 40-round 7.62 magazine, a second 40-round 7.62 magazine loaded with 33 rounds, a Blackhawk handgun holster, and three boxes of 9-millimeter Fiocchi ammunition containing 50 rounds each, legal filings show.