A Mabelvale man indicted by a federal court in New York on charges of trafficking weapons agreed Tuesday to waive a bail hearing in Arkansas and to be extradited to New York.
Aboudulaye Keita, 22, who was born in the Bronx, was indicted in the Southern District of New York along with three other men on conspiracy to commit firearms trafficking and firearms trafficking. Also charged were Jailyn Hilliard, Marquise Deshaun Austin and Cedric Keyon Christopher.
Keita was also charged with one count of interstate travel with intent to commit firearms trafficking. Keita was accused by federal authorities in New York of receiving dozens of firearms that the other three men had purchased in Arkansas and transporting them to New York by bus from Memphis between October 2020 and December of last year. According to a complaint filed in July, Keita is believed to have received at least 73 firearms bought through straw purchases from the other three defendants in Arkansas for transport to New York.
According to a press release from the U.S. attorney's office in New York, casings from the recovered firearms have been connected to a shooting that took place in the Bronx on June 20, 2021, and shootings that took place in Harlem on July 5, 2021, and Oct. 6, 2021. Casings from one firearm recovered in Arkansas were found at the scene of a Sept. 3, 2021, homicide in Little Rock.
Keita was arrested last March in Arkansas. Austin and Christopher were arrested in July. Keita had been in the Pulaski County jail since July on a failure to appear warrant out of Pulaski County and a hold for federal authorities. He was arrested July 13, according to the Pulaski County jail roster.
At Tuesday's hearing, Keita's attorney, Geoffrey Kearney, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe that Keita had decided to forgo a bond hearing in Arkansas and had consented to be extradited to New York.
"I understand you've decided to reserve your right to a bond hearing and to be extradited to New York," Volpe said. "I don't think a time has been scheduled but once you get there the marshals will set you up with a hearing."
According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Arkansas is ranked 50th in the nation for gun safety due to some of the most lax gun laws in the country. In recent years, the Giffords Center said, Arkansas has enacted few meaningful gun safety laws, opting instead to allow concealed carry at universities and polling places. In 2020, Arkansas had the eighth-highest gun death rate in the country and supplied guns to other states at the 14th-highest rate.
Among areas in which the state is lacking, the Giffords Center said, Arkansas does not require universal background checks or permitting of gun owners, has weak domestic violence gun laws, no restrictions on assault weapons or large capacity magazines, and has no mechanism in place to temporarily take guns out of the hands of people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or others.