A Biloxi man pled guilty to conspiring to possess a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Malyk Harveston, 20, pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.
According to court documents and information presented to the Court, the DEA and Gulfport Police Department began investigating a local drug trafficking organization in 2020 that was involved in the distribution of oxycodone, marijuana, alprazolam (“Xanax”), methamphetamine, and pressed fentanyl pills. During the investigation, law enforcement learned that various members of the organization, like many drug traffickers, possessed firearms to protect themselves, their drugs, and the proceeds from their drug sales.
Through their investigation, officers determined that Harveston was a member of the drug trafficking organization. Officers determined that he was principally a street level trafficker of marijuana and alprazolam, which he would obtain from other members of the conspiracy and then redistribute. However, he also had a source for fake oxycodone pills. The investigation also revealed messages between Harveston and other members of the conspiracy in which they discussed the acquisition of firearms. Furthermore, another member of the conspiracy advised Harveston to invest the proceeds from his drug sales in firearms.
Ultimately, in late May of 2021, local law enforcement officials arrested Harveston. Harveston subsequently admitted to purchasing an American Tactical Rifle which was found in a vehicle registered to his mother. During the investigation, officers were able to determine that Harveston had acquired at least 5 different firearms.
Harveston is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17, 2022. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
The DEA, Gulfport Police Department, and Biloxi Police Department investigated this case with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Buckner is prosecuting the case.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.