BURLINGTON — A 24-year-old man from Springfield, Mass., who reportedly traveled to Vermont to secretly buy two handguns, has been jailed on federal charges of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms, court records show.
Tahj McCormick, 24, who police say is a member of the “Sycamore Street Posse,” a known street gang, was arrested as he took possession of two Glock firearms in an undercover operation in Brattleboro on Friday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reported.
McCormick is jailed without bail at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., pending an expected appearance in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Monday to face the federal felony criminal complaint.
McCormick is prohibited from possessing any firearms because his criminal record includes a felony conviction in Pittsfield, Mass. District Court for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (firearm), federal court records show. They note he was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
ATF Special Agents from both the Burlington, Vt. and Springfield, Mass. field offices were part of the sting operation to buy the guns – a Glock 40-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a Glock 9-mm semi-automatic pistol, court records show.
The ATF, in the court affidavit, said it learned McCormick was in Brattleboro on Wednesday actively looking to buy a firearm. He eventually agreed to meet with an undercover ATF agent the following day at the Dalem Chalet on South Street where the suspect said he was staying.
McCormick asked the undercover agent on Thursday to buy him a 40-caliber Glock, ATF Special Agent Tam Vieth said in the court affidavit. During the discussion with the undercover agent, McCormick mentioned being a member of “Sycamore Street” and described the types of firearms he was familiar with and liked, Vieth wrote.
McCormick and the undercover ATF agent agreed to meet on Friday for the buy, but on Thursday the undercover agent sent a picture of two Glocks and McCormick said he would buy both for $700, Vieth wrote.
With surveillance help from Brattleboro and state police on Friday, the undercover agent met with McCormick at the Quality Inn on Putney Road, but the suspect directed the ATF agent to drive them to the Hampton Inn, the affidavit noted.
McCormick counted out the $700 and when they arrived at the Hampton Inn, the undercover agent presented the two government-owned firearms to McCormick. He was subsequently arrested by other law enforcement officers, Vieth wrote.
Mass State Police reported in July 2019 that McCormick, then 23, was charged on 18 counts including attempted murder, kidnapping, assault battery with a dangerous weapon and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs. He also faced, operating after revocation as a habitual traffic offender, resisting arrest, possession of a Class B substance, subsequent offense; driver refusal to proper identify and failure to stop for police.
The charges followed a high-speed chase along the Mass Turnpike from Chicopee to Westfield and back to West Springfield, Mass State Police reported.
Trooper Chad Smith stopped a 2018 Honda Accord operated McCormick on I-90 westbound in Chicopee for a marked lanes violation. McCormick initially gave a false name to the trooper and then fled at a high rate of speed, police said.
State troopers pursued the car westbound. The car then took the Exit 3 ramp and traveled over the curbing, maneuvering to change direction on I-90. While the car was traveling in the median, an adult female passenger exited the vehicle while it was still moving and was dragged a short distance before breaking free, police said.
Trooper Smith tended to the injured woman while other troopers continued the pursuit, which was headed eastbound on I-90 with the suspect car riding on two flat tires at speeds exceeding 90 miles per hour, police said.
The Honda Accord then took the Exit 4 ramp in Westfield and crashed into the guardrail. McCormick fled on foot with troopers in pursuit, police said. Trooper Michael Trombley eventually caught up with McCormick and, after a brief struggle, placed him in custody.