A federal grand jury has indicted three Niagara falls men for their role in an undercover sting, aimed at taking guns off Cataract City streets, that instead sent bullets flying in a Wal-Mart parking lot on Porter Road.

Garry James, 23, 1366 Michigan Ave., has been charged with one count of attempted murder of a special agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, two counts of forcible assault against a special agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a special agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), one count of using and carrying a firearm while committing a crime of violence and one count of possessing a firearm.

James is also charged, along with Alphonso “Mack” Moody, 20, 3213 Ninth St. and Jermaine “Main” Ellison, 20, 942 Grove Ave., with assault and robbery, and wounding a person in the course of that robbery, illegal use of a dangerous weapon (a semi-automatic pistol), conspiracy to commit robbery, unlawfully carrying and using a firearm and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, forcible assault of a person assisting federal agents, unlawfully carrying and using a firearm and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Ellison, James and James’ brother, Devincio, 17, 1366 Michigan Ave., also face first-degree robbery and criminal use of a weapon charges in Falls City court. Local charges against Moody were recently dismissed.

The trouble began on the evening of Jan. 11, when an informant for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arranged to meet James to buy what investigators said were five high-powered semi-automatic weapons. However, as the sting unfolded, a Falls Police investigator said it “went bad, real quick.”

In a statement to Falls Police, Moody said he had set James up to sell guns to the informant. He said James had previously robbed and shot him and had threatened to continue robbing him, unless he found another victim.

After agreeing to meet the informant in the Wal-Mart parking lot, and posting Ellison and his brother as look-outs, James and Moody walked over to a waiting car, with federal agents and Falls Police keeping a close watch on them.

Special Agent Joseph Green, with ATF, said sting operations like the gun “buy-bust” are “extremely dangerous. In this case, he said, James had no intention of selling guns to the informant.

“This was a straight up rip-off,” Green said.

Inside the green Lincoln Continental being driven by the informant, James open a case containing a Tec-9 semi-automatic handgun. The informant flashed a “money roll” of about $1,500.

Then the sting unraveled.

“(James) pulled out another gun and put it to the back of my head and said he was going to shoot me,” the informant told Falls Police detectives afterwards. “He told (Moody) to take he money out of my pocket.”

Moody grabbed the cash and the informant’s cell phone and then the gunfire started.

“I yelled for help,” the informant said. “Then (James) leaned over and shot me in the left leg.”

At the sound of the gun fire, an SUV with an ATF agent and an ICE agent raced toward the informant’s car. James and Moody jumped out of the car. The ATF agent got out of the passenger side of the SUV, while the ICE agent jumped from the driver side of the vehicle.

The agents shouted for James and Moody to stop, when James turned and fired at them. One bullet hit the SUV, striking within six inches of the ICE agent.

“Garry was getting out of the car and he started shooting at a SUV truck that pulled up to (the informant’s) car,” Moody said. “Garry fired three or four shots.”

James later claimed he thought the SUV contained the informant’s “people” and that they were coming to shoot him. Neither of the federal agents returned James’ fire.

James, Moody, Ellison and James’ brother were all taken into custody in the parking lot. All three are being held without bail, pending further proceedings in the case.

Devincio James faces a preliminary hearing in City Court on July 25 on the charges pending against him.

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