Former KCMO fire captain pleads guilty to illegally selling guns

Posted at 4:44 PM, Aug 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-31 17:44:31-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A former Kansas City, Missouri, fire captain pleaded guilty to illegally selling guns over a five-year period that included selling to convicted felons, the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri announced Monday.

James Samuels, 54, admitted to buying 77 guns from November 2013 to August 2018, most of which were hand guns.

Samuels sold 47 of the firearms to third parties, and 10 to 20 of those went to convicted felons.

41 Action News previously reported that one of the guns Samuels sold was used in a 2016 homicide of Alvino Crawford.

Samuels purchased the guns at a low price and admitted to making about a $40 to $50 profit with the sales.

He also made several false statements to federally licensed firearm dealers dealers by misrepresenting the identity of the actual buyer of firearms, according to the attorney's office.

He was arrested in October 2018 after he sold a gun to a confidential informant who was working an undercover operation.

Following a search of Samuels' home, officers found 22 handguns, five rifles and one shot gun, in addition to 12,000 rounds of ammunition.

He faces up to 60 years in federal prison with no parole.

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the 41 Action News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015.