Feds use jail calls to help indict man on gun charge

Local News
Robert Burkey is facing federal gun charges out of Mahoning County.

This is a 2015 booking photo of Robert Burkey from the Trumbull County Jail.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man caught with a loaded handgun and THC gummies in May was caught on a recorded call saying he knew he was riding around with the gun when he was arrested.

Robert Burkey, 30, whose last known address was Oregon Avenue, was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on one count of being a felon in possession of a gun.

Burkey was arrested May 30 on Interstate 680 by an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper who pulled him over for what an affidavit in the case said was an “equipment violation.”

Inside the SUV Burkey was driving, the trooper found THC gummies, suspected fentanyl, a scale with suspected fentanyl residue and a loaded .45-caliber handgun in the trunk where the spare tire was located, according to court documents.

The affidavit said Burkey told the trooper the gun was his brother’s and he did not know it was in the SUV. According to the affidavit, Burkey told the trooper his brother had a concealed carry permit, and he touched the gun when his brother first got it but that was all.

A week after he was arrested, the affidavit said investigators listened to a recorded phone call while Burkey was in the Mahoning County Jail between Burkey and an unidentified witness.

Inmates are warned that their calls are monitored and are subject to being reviewed.

On the portion of the recording in the affidavit, the witness seems to be berating Burkey for never listening and Burkey responds: “You listen, you act like I’m just riding around with it [gun] to ride around with it [gun].”

Investigators noted in their complaint that Burkey has two past criminal convictions that bar him from having or being around a firearm.

In 2009, he was convicted of robbery with a firearm specification in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court and received a four year prison term.

In 2015, he pleaded guilty in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court to being a felon in possession of a firearm and felonious assault and received a three year prison sentence.

Court records do not list an arraignment date for Burkey.

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