A Camden man accused in a gunrunning operation that allegedly transported illegal guns from South Carolina to South Jersey will remain in custody awaiting trial.
Joseph Rutling, 23, made his first appearance Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider. At the brief hearing, Rutling waived a preliminary hearing on charges of dealing in firearms and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Rutling faces up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted on both counts. He was returned to the Camden County Jail, where he is serving a 364-day sentence on an unrelated weapons conviction.
An initial appearance for his brother, Marcus Rutling, 32, also of Camden and Saluda, S.C. was rescheduled for Sept. 8 at 11:30 a.m. He, too, is in state custody in an unrelated case.
Federal authorities say the brothers were at the center of the ring charged with transporting guns on Amtrak and selling them in Camden, Clementon, and Lawnside. Four others were also charged and have had initial court appearances.
The arrests, announced Aug. 5, capped an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in which a confidential informant bought more than 20 weapons, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, and an assault rifle.
Several of the guns had no serial number, and at least one had been reported stolen, according to court documents.
New Jersey has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. But illegal guns are smuggled into Camden from nearby states that have more lax laws, according to local law enforcement officials. About eight of 10 guns confiscated in Camden -- most of them illegal -- are from out of state, police say.
According to the informant, the Rutling brothers said they both transported guns by train to New Jersey, an affidavit in the case stated. The guns were then sold in usually prearranged deals and then handed off in person outside houses in Camden, Clementon, or Lawnside, authorities said.
Also charged in the case are Joseph Rutling's girlfriend, Katelynn Schippnick, 24, of Greeleyville, S.C.; Anthony Gilmore, 24, of Lawnside; Lewis D. DiMattesa, 37, of Clementon; and Shawn Tribbett, 32, of Camden.
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