Kentucky men sentenced for selling guns and machine gun making devices, feds say

Published 10:42 am Monday, May 20, 2024

Two Kentucky men are headed to federal prison for working together to sell firearms to people who could not legally possess them, federal prosecutors said Monday.

Two Covington, Kentucky, men, Cylis Rowe, 23, and Clifton Barnett, 25, have been sentenced, by U.S. District Judge David Bunning, to 124 months and 70 months in prison respectively, for conspiring to distribute firearms to others who could not legally possess them. Rowe’s sentencing also included one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

According to his court documents, in 2022, law enforcement began investigating individuals regularly selling and possessing firearms and machinegun conversion devices, known colloquially as Glock switches, to individuals engaged in drug trafficking and other criminal offenses. The investigation showed that Rowe and Barnett conspired with Demarco Sturgeon, 23, and others, to distribute the firearms illegally. Sturgeon admitted he was aware of the conspiracy’s straw purchases and distributed over 100 firearms between 2020 and 2022.

Evidence showed that Rowe and Barnett purchased numerous firearms, and Sturgeon sold the guns directly, and through Facebook Messenger. Law enforcement searched all three defendants’ residences; at Rowe’s and Sturgeon’s residences, they found firearms and marijuana. Both Rowe and Sturgeon admitted to extensive firearms trafficking and regularly distributed marijuana, while in possession of firearms, and that they possessed the firearms at their residences to protect them against the dangers associated with drug trafficking.

Sturgeon was previously sentenced, in March 2024, to 130 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

Under federal law, Rowe and Barnett must serve 85 percent of their prison sentences. Upon their release from prison, Rowe will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for five years, and Barnett will be under supervision for three years.

Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Shawn Morrow Special Agent in Charge, ATF Louisville Field Division, jointly announced the sentences.