DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Idaho

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Bart M. Davis
, United States Attorney

Coeur d’Alene Man Pleads Guilty to Lie and Buy Gun Crime

COEUR D'ALENE – Alex James Spooner, 23, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, pleaded guilty Tuesday to unlawful acquisition of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced.  Spooner was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 17, 2018. 

According to court records, Spooner committed what is commonly known as a “lie and buy” gun crime.  A “lie and buy” gun crime occurs when someone buys a gun on behalf of another person while falsely claiming that it is for themselves.  Spooner bought seven firearms for another person living in North Dakota.  In doing so, Spooner lied to the gun seller by claiming the guns were for him.  Four of the guns that Spooner bought ended up in Chicago.  Within eight days of Spooner’s purchase of one of the firearms, it was used in a shooting in Chicago.  Another gun bought by Spooner was found 13 days later during a search warrant execution in Chicago.

Sentencing is set for June 19, 2018, before U.S. District Judge David C. Nye at the federal court house in Coeur d’Alene.    

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the North Idaho Violent Crime Task Force and the Chicago Police Department.

“Lie and buy gun crimes are particularly pernicious,” U.S. Attorney Bart Davis said.  “These guns very often end up in the hands of violent individuals who can’t buy guns because of their criminal history.”  Davis went on to praise the cooperative efforts of the law enforcement agencies:  “The coordinated efforts of the ATF, the Chicago Police Department and the North Idaho Violent Crime Task Force are to be commended.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.  In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Chicago Field Division