DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Idaho

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Bart M. Davis
, United States Attorney
Contact: Cassie Fulghum

Coeur d’Alene Man Sentenced for Lie and Buy Gun Crime

COEUR D'ALENE – Alex James Spooner, 23, of Coeur d’Alene, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for unlawfully acquiring a firearm, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced.  Spooner was sentenced by United States District Court Judge David C. Nye.  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.

U.S. District Court Judge David C. Nye also sentenced Spooner to 3 years supervised release after he is finished with his prison term.  While on supervised release, Spooner must follow certain terms and conditions set by Judge Nye, including searches of his person and property as well as drug testing and treatment requirements.  Nye noted that while Spooner’s criminal conduct was serious, he also had a lack of any violent criminal history.

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.

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.

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