Philly sheriff's deputy accused of illegally selling guns used in shooting

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Earlier this month a shooting outside a Philadelphia high school left a 14-year old dead and four other teens wounded; a tragic situation that Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has blamed on a lack of gun control in the city and state. Kenney even declared that the gun store that sold ammunition to one of the suspects should be “held accountable” for the crime, though there’s no way that the gun store owner could have known that the purchaser was a prohibited person.

As it turns out, however, the person police believe is responsible for selling two of the guns used in the shooting knew damn well that he was not only giving a gun to someone not eligible to receive it, but was breaking the law by doing so.

A Philadelphia Sheriff’s Deputy has been arrested for illegally selling guns on the street. According to court documents, two of those guns were used in the deadly Roxborough shooting on Sept. 27 where a 14-year-old was killed and four teens were injured.

According to the court documents, [Samir] Ahmad was employed as a Deputy Sheriff with the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office when he allegedly sold two semi-automatic pistols and ammunition to a confidential informant.

During the exchange, the informant explained to Ahmad that he was unlawfully in the United States and that he could “get deported” if he was caught in possession of a gun.

Ahmad responded: “You don’t got to worry about none of that.”

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Ahmad made $3,000 from the illegal gun sale, which won’t even make much of a dent in his upcoming legal fees. The former deputy, who was fired from the department on October 19th, the same day federal agents arrested him, now faces up to 5 years in prison for firearms trafficking as well as selling a firearm to a personal unlawfully in the United States.

“As alleged, Samir Ahmad abused his authority – to the greatest extent possible – as a sworn law enforcement officer,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “The defendant was allegedly illegally selling firearms on the street to at least one person who was not permitted to possess them, adding fuel to the already-incendiary fire of deadly gun violence in the City of Philadelphia. Working with our law enforcement partners, we are doing all that we can to investigate and prosecute those responsible for the violence.”

“The idea of a sworn public servant so blatantly undermining public safety is reprehensible,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Philadelphia is awash in illegal guns, which are being used to commit violent crimes, so every weapon we can take off the street and every trafficker we can lock up makes a difference. The FBI and our partners will continue to do everything in our power to make this city safer.”

I wonder if Kenney will have anything to say about Ahmad’s arrest or if he’ll continue to pin the blame for the shooting on a lack of gun control and the ammunition seller?

While the mayor may be convinced that background checks on ammunition sales will solve this problem, the reality is that the black market for guns and ammunition isn’t going away. The best way to combat the illicit trafficking of firearms is to ensure that there are consequences for those who are caught, and the fact that this is a federal case and not one that’s going to be prosecuted by Philly D.A. Larry Krasner gives me a little hope that there will be repercussions here. Still, even federal judges are giving gun traffickers soft sentences for serious crimes, so it’s entirely possible that if Ahmad is convicted or pleads guilty to these charges he’ll still wind up with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Meanwhile, when even members of law enforcement are helping to arm criminals, is it any wonder that concealed carry applications are skyrocketing? The city’s crime-fighting efforts have wavered between woeful ineffectiveness and off-target tactics aimed at legal gun owners, and with the number of murders expected to once again surpass 500 for the year, many Philadelphians have rightfully decided to start carrying a firearm for their own protection. Doing so may not guarantee their personal safety, but it’s still an improvement over relying solely on the City of Brotherly Love to live up to its name.