For Immediate Release
Columbia Man Sentenced for Straw Purchasing Firearms
Columbia, South Carolina ---- United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated today that Marquel Davon Foster, age 23, of Columbia, South Carolina was sentenced today in federal court after earlier pleading guilty to making a false statement in the acquisition of firearms from a federal firearms licensee, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(a)(6) and 924(a)(2). Senior United States District Judge Margaret B. Seymour sentenced Foster to 18 months imprisonment, followed by three (3) years of supervised release.
Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that in January 2013, during the execution of a drug search warrant in Bridgeton, NJ, officers recovered a Masterpiece Arms .45 caliber pistol with a high capacity magazine. A trace of the firearm revealed that it was purchased by Foster in Columbia, SC in on February 6, 2012. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) determined that Foster had purchased a total of six (6) firearms, comprised of two (2) firearms on February 6, 2012, two (2) firearms on February 8, 2012, and two (2) additional firearms on March 7, 2012. When agents approached Foster, he claimed that the Masterpiece Arms .45 caliber pistol with a high capacity magazine had been stolen a year earlier, but that he had the other five (5) firearms in his possession. When agents asked to see those five (5) firearms, Foster admitted that he did not have them and that he had purchased them for an individual from New Jersey that he met at the gun store in exchange for money. Foster stated that the individual, who he knew only by a nickname, gave him money, and asked Foster to purchase the firearms for him since he was unable to legally purchase them because he was a felon. Foster admitted to making a false statement on the forms to purchase the firearms and to purchasing a total of six (6) firearms for this individual in approximately a one-month period. The six (6) firearms were a Hi-Point .380 caliber pistol, a Masterpiece Arms .45 caliber pistol, a European American Arms, Corp. .357 caliber revolver, a Ruger 9mm pistol, a Taurus .40 caliber pistol, and a Masterpiece Arms 9mm pistol. Only one (1) of those firearms has been recovered as of this date.
The case was investigated by ATF and was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state and local Project CeaseFire initiative, which aggressively prosecutes firearm cases. Assistant United States Attorney Stacey D. Haynes of the Columbia office handled the case.