Mabelvale man agrees to extradition to New York for arms trafficking

LITTLE ROCK — A Mabelvale man charged with arms trafficking by a federal court in New York on Tuesday agreed to forgo a bail hearing in Arkansas and be extradited to New York.

Aboudulaye Keita, 22, who was born in the Bronx, has been charged in the Southern District of New York along with three other men on conspiracy to firearms trafficking and firearms trafficking. Also charged were Jailyn Hilliard, Marquise Deshaun Austin and Cedric Keyon Christopher.

Keita was also charged with a charge of traveling interstate with intent to commit firearms trafficking. Keita has been charged by federal authorities in New York with receiving dozens of firearms that the other three men bought in Arkansas between October 2020 and December last year and transporting them from Memphis to New York by bus. According to a complaint filed in July, Keita allegedly received at least 73 firearms bought through straw buying from the other three defendants in Arkansas for transportation to New York.

Cases of the seized firearms have been linked to a June 20, 2021 shooting in the Bronx and shootings that took place in Harlem on July 5, 2021, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s Office in New York. and October 6, 2021. Casings of a firearm recovered in Arkansas were found at the scene of a September 3, 2021 homicide in Little Rock.

Keita was arrested in Arkansas last March. Austin and Christopher were arrested in July.

Keita had been in the Pulaski County jail since July for failing to receive a Pulaski County warrant and a federal warrant for his arrest. According to the Pulaski County Jail List, he was arrested on July 13.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Keita’s attorney, Geoffrey Kearney, told US Judge Joe Volpe that Keita had decided not to attend a bail hearing in Arkansas and had agreed to extradition to New York.

“I understand you have decided to reserve your right to a hearing and be extradited to New York,” Volpe said. “I don’t think a time has been set, but once you get there the marshals will assign you to a hearing.”

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Arkansas ranks 50th nationwide for gun safety due to some of the most lax gun laws in the country. In recent years, according to the Giffords Center, Arkansas has passed few meaningful gun safety laws, opting instead to allow concealed carry at campuses and polling stations. In 2020, Arkansas had the eighth highest gun death rate in the country and shipped guns to other states with the 14th highest rate.

Among the areas where the state is lacking, the Giffords Center said Arkansas does not require universal background checks or permits from gun owners, has weak gun laws for domestic violence, has no restrictions on assault weapons or large-capacity magazines, and has no mechanism to identify people who show signs that they endanger themselves or others by temporarily taking weapons out of their hands.