Two Guilty for Straw Purchasing a Firearm

Don't Lie For The Other Guy
Don’t Lie For The Other Guy

LOS ANGELES – -(AmmoLand.com)- A Hemet man recently pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a Highland woman in making false statements in acquisition of a firearm, a charge to which she pleaded guilty.

Efrain Pena, Jr., 38, and Michelle Velasquez, 35, are scheduled to be sentenced in March 2020. The offenses are punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In early September 2018, Mexican authorities recovered two pistols and an unserialized, homemade, short-barrel AR-type rifle in a vehicle in Tijuana, Mexico from a vehicle occupied by three individuals. The Mexican authorities worked with their counterparts at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and traced some of the firearms to the first purchasers. One of firearms traced back to an individual who bought the gun at a federal firearms licensee in Riverside, California.

The trace report documented the firearm had been purchased 189 days prior to it showing up in a crime scene. The national average from the time an individual purchases a firearm to when it shows up in a crime (also known as time-to-crime) is 8 years.

ATF Los Angeles Field Division investigated the purchase and it was determined Velasquez agreed to purchase the firearm for Pena. According to the federal indictment Velasquez placed the order online, gave Pena’s address and credit card instead of her own on the federal forms and picked up the gun from the store. While at the gun store, she falsely stated on federal forms she was the buyer (opposed to Pena), and signed off on the form that she understood if this was a false statement it was a crime punishable as a felony.

On Oct. 4, 2018, ATF special agents attempted to contact Velasquez to discuss the purchase of the firearm that was found in Tijuana. According to the federal indictment, two days later, Velasquez filed a report to the San Bernardino Police Department falsely stating that the firearm found in Tijuana had been stolen from her previous residence.

ATF determined Pena possessed the firearm Velasquez purchased even though he is a convicted felon for a previous offense and is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.

Firearms trafficking refers to the diversion of guns from lawful commerce to the illegal market. Firearm traffickers oftentimes have individuals legally purchase firearms for individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms. The act of purchasing a firearm unlawfully for another is often referred to as straw purchasing.

ATF recognizes the role firearms play in violent crimes and focuses on armed violent offenders and career criminals, firearms traffickers, violent gang activity, and domestic and international arms traffickers.

ATF targets, investigates and recommends prosecution of these offenders to reduce the level of violent crime and to enhance public safety. ATF also strives to increase state and local awareness of available federal prosecution under federal statutes.

The prosecutors who handled this case were Assistant United States Attorneys Eli A. Alcaraz and Julius J. Nam.

For more information, follow ATF LA Field Division on Twitter @LosAngelesATF.

Los Angeles Field Division


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ( ATF )Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

ATF is the federal law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of the federal firearms and explosives laws and regulations. More information about ATF and its programs can be found at www.atf.gov.

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RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago

Anyone who has read very many of my posts know that I have little to no regard for the BATFE. However, there are those who are twisting or misstating the words in this sentence: “The national average from the time an individual purchases a firearm to when it shows up in a crime (also known as time-to-crime) is 8 years.” It is obvious that what is meant is that, for those firearms found at a crime scene, it has been eight years since it was legally purchased. The word “average” only applies in this instance to those found at a… Read more »

Stag
Stag
1 year ago

The only crimes I see are armed robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and violation of rights. #Infringement #AllArmsLawsAreUnconstitutional

Circle8
Circle8
1 year ago

This person should contacted eric holder and ask him how to illegally buy a gun and send it to Mexico. Would have been much simpler.

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
1 year ago

Wow, and I thought the 2A applied to everyone who is not in jail or the loony farm. I also thought it says Shall not be infringed. I thought it is not just a right, it is a mandate. WE are the militia. Every man or woman who is not in jail or the loony farm and is of age IS THE MALITIA. Any law that subverts, delays or denies someone of their 2A right is treasonous. Therefore any who legislate, judge, enforce or finance treasonous laws are themselves guilty of treason. There is a legitimate, worthy lawful penalty for… Read more »

American Patriot
American Patriot
1 year ago

They should of bought their Cartel card before crossing the border……..

jack mac
jack mac
1 year ago

The firearm was easily and quickly traced and its (registered?) owner quickly captured. Apparently, we all can now be easily captured as we are now registered.

Don
Don
1 year ago
Reply to  jack mac

California has registration for newly purchased firearms.

DonP
DonP
1 year ago

The link from the Ammoland email stated:

“Buy a gun for someone who can’t, buy yourself 10 years in jail.”

From what I’ve always understood, it doesn’t matter if the person you are buying the gun for can or can’t buy a gun, it’s still a straw man purchase if the person filling out the form isn’t the intended owner.

RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago
Reply to  DonP

What matters is who actually “purchases” the gun. In other words, who is actually providing the funds used to purchase the gun. If I give you $500.00 so that you can purchase a gun, or in this case let you use my credit card, you are making a straw purchase. Doesn’t matter if the gun is for you or is to be transferred to another, even if that other can legally have the gun. It can be a convoluted situation. Suppose your wife takes money out of her and your joint account to buy a gun for you. That would… Read more »

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
1 year ago

“One of firearms traced back to an individual who bought the gun at a federal firearms licensee in Riverside, California.” NAAAAAAA the firearms we buy through an FFL dealer aren’t registered. “The national average from the time an individual purchases a firearm to when it shows up in a crime (also known as time-to-crime) is 8 years.” I must be mucking up this record because nothing I’ve ever bought ended up in a crime and a couple of Pythons go back to the 1980s. Oh, and TEN YEARS for this? That is insane. Oh and the ATF should go away.… Read more »

Tionico
Tionico
1 year ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

if the gun was purchased new from that FFL, the trace is simple. Amnufacturer looks up SN, sees which distributor it went to. distributor looks up SN, sees which FFL it went to. FFL looks up in his bound Book to see who original purchaser at retail is. BATF then can contact that person, as happened here. NOW , once original purchaser at retail sells that gun to someone else, tracing gets real dicey. Had original owner lawfully sold i, through a different FFL, to Charlie Brown, there wold be no way to trace the gun to the second FFL,… Read more »

John
John
1 year ago
Reply to  Tionico

Many buyers who purchase a firearm and thereafter decide they do not like it for whatever reason or for example the transmission goes out in the family car and must sell for much needed funds, normally taking a loss in the process. A Bill of Sale should be signed and dated by both the seller and buyer with each’s contact info and of course manufacture, model and serial of the firearm, each then retaining an original for their record. The Bill of Sale provides a viable defense to straw purchase allegation for the seller and for the buyer, knowingly possessing… Read more »

Don
Don
1 year ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

New gun purchased in California are registered to the buyer.

Montana59
Montana59
1 year ago

Maybe they can get holder to help them out, beings he has done it before an knows how to avoid being prosecuted

willyd
willyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Montana59

Montana59; I heard that he was going on a speaking tour to tell people how to get away with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Agostino
Agostino
1 year ago

DON’T TELL ME THE FEDS ARE FINALLY GOING TO PROSECUTE STRAW PURCHASERS AND THOSE WHO LIE KNOWINGLY ON 4473s! That’s all we dealers have been asking for the last 20 years or so. We don’t need more laws; we need enforcement of the ones we have. And we actually need fewer laws targeted randomly and laws targeted specifically at criminals.

CourageousLion
CourageousLion
1 year ago
Reply to  Agostino

Yea, we need to fill cages with more people who don’t fill out forms properly. Let’s have pre crime laws with the ATF too! Because after all, all of your firearms are going to end up in crimes in about 8 years. What bull crap.

liberty
liberty
1 year ago
Reply to  CourageousLion

Wait once we purchase something it doesn’t belong to us i.e. we can’t simply gift it, or otherwise transfer it to someone else? My eTrade baby shocked face is showing.

Tionico
Tionico
1 year ago
Reply to  liberty

oh in most cases you can. There these folks went stray is that they bought NEW gin from the first FFL dealer to get it. Two step trace linked right to them. Had they bought used from the same dealer, the SN never would have traced to that FFL, but to the rirst FFL to sell it at retail. Had these folks resold the gun to a different FFL, or a pawn shop, or on GunBroker the trace still would have come back to them…… then they could have claimed they had resold it… trouble is, ATF had checked the… Read more »

Don
Don
1 year ago
Reply to  Tionico

California state keeps records of new and used sales.

Stag
Stag
1 year ago
Reply to  Agostino

“We dealers” haven’t been asking for this. Butters and Fudds have. All arms laws are unconstitutional.