Asheville -- September 22, 2022: Press Release Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of North Carolina -- Jesse Lynn Williams, 34, of Asheville, was sentenced to 235 months
in prison today for his role in the burglary of an Asheville gun store, announced Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Chief U.S. District Judge Martin Reidinger also ordered Williams to serve three years under court supervision after he is released from prison.
Bennie Mims, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Charlotte Field Division, and Chief David Zack of the Asheville Police Department (APD) join U.S. Attorney King in making today’s announcement.
According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, Williams organized the burglary of Carolina Guns and Gear West, LLC (Carolina Guns and Gear), a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) located at 3106 Sweeten Creek Road, in Asheville. Williams recruited his two co-defendants, Lyron Deshawn Greenlee and Alexa Rae Basillo, to assist him with the burglary. Court records show that on January 7, 2022, Williams broke into the gun store and stole 33 firearms, while Greenlee and Bassillo served as lookouts or drivers during the burglary.
As part of the planning and preparation for the burglary, Williams and Bassillo customized satellite map imagery of the area surrounding the gun store, which diagrammed the location of the store and avenues of approach and escape near the store. The maps also identified where co-conspirators would be stationed as lookouts. Court records also show that Williams, assisted by Bassillo, acquired tools and equipment for the break-in, including two-way radios which co-conspirators used to communicate over the course of the burglary.
According to court documents, immediately after the burglary, Williams, Greenlee, and Bassillo traveled to Greenlee’s residence, where they divvied up the stolen firearms. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement determined that Williams received 15 or 16 of the stolen firearms. To date, law enforcement have recovered eight of the 33 stolen firearms.
On January 10, 2022, law enforcement arrested Williams and Bassillo while the two were in Bassillo’s parked vehicle. At the time of the arrest, law enforcement recovered from the vehicle a firearm stolen from the gun store, a crowbar, bolt cutters, and other items used in the burglary, a homemade silencer, a loaded pistol, and a loaded SKS rifle that belonged to Williams.
On April 13, 2022, Williams pleaded guilty to theft of firearms from an FFL and aiding and abetting, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is currently in federal custody and will be transferred to the custody of the federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Greenlee was sentenced last week to eight and a half years in prison. Bassillo is currently awaiting sentencing.
In making today’s announcement U.S. Attorney King thanked the ATF and APD for their investigation of the case.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville is handling the prosecution.
USAO - North Carolina, Western
Updated September 22, 2022