Kansas City fire captain charged with illegally selling firearms to felons

On Sept. 5, 2018, Samuels allegedly sold an American Tactical Imports Omni-Hybrid AR-15 rifle, an American Tactical Imports Omni-Hybrid AR-15 pistol and ammunition to a confidential informant whom he knew was a convicted felon. 

KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- A captain in the Kansas City Fire Department was charged in federal court after selling dozens of firearms through straw buyers to convicted felons, some of whom used the firearms to commit other crimes.

Authorities say one of the firearms was used to commit a murder that is being prosecuted in Jackson County.

James Samuels, 52, of Kansas City, was charged in a criminal complaint filed under seal in the U.S. District Court in Kansas City on Monday.

That complaint, which was unsealed Friday following Samuels’s arrest and initial court appearance, charges him with one count of selling a firearm and ammunition to a prohibited person and one count of transferring a firearm for use in a violent crime.

Samuels was arrested on Thursday following an undercover operation in which he sold a .38-caliber revolver to a confidential informant whom he knew to be a felon through an undercover federal agent posing as a straw buyer.

Samuels remains in federal custody.

“Those who supply dangerous firearms to violent criminals are as much a threat to the safety of our community as the criminals themselves,” said Tim Garrison, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri. “We will aggressively prosecute not only those who illegally possess firearms, but also the suppliers whose criminal conduct enables them to arm themselves with these weapons.”

According to an affidavit, Samuels purchased 77 firearms, including 57 Jimenez pistols. Of the 77 firearms Samuels has purchased, 47 of them were transferred to third parties, including 43 Jimenez pistols. Six of those pistols have been involved in other crimes.

Samuels does not have a federal license to legally sell firearms.

Samuels had just been promoted in May. He has been with the department for more than 20 years. KCTV5 News checked and he is still on the payroll, listed as an employee of the KFCD as of the time of publication. 

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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