For Immediate Release
Firearm Trafficker Sentenced to 37 Months in Federal Prison
Trafficked Guns Used in Multiple Crimes Throughout Michigan, Including the Homicide of a 2-Year-Old
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Mark Totten announced that Jerreil LaMounta Martin, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison for illegally purchasing and trafficking more than 40 firearms, several of which were used in multiple crimes throughout Michigan. U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Jonker also imposed 3 years of supervised release following his term of incarceration.
“Straw purchasing and gun trafficking drive a dangerous black market for firearms,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. He continued: “These crimes feed the violence that plague communities across Michigan – including the horrible killing of an innocent 2-year-old child less than a year ago. My office will hold straw purchasers and illegal gun traffickers accountable for creating these supply lines of violence.”
Martin ran an illegal gun trafficking business, charging customers $50 to $100 per firearm to lie on the purchase forms, saying he was buying the guns for himself when he was really purchasing them for other people. This tactic is sometimes referred to as “straw purchasing.” Martin knew that his customers, who were convicted felons, were prohibited from buying guns for themselves. He also knew some of his customers were reselling guns to other people. Martin capitalized on his lack of criminal history and ability to purchase guns and then sell those firearms to prohibited persons for a profit.
While the whereabouts of most of the guns Martin straw purchased and trafficked remain unknown, police have recovered fourteen of these firearms. Together the stories of these fourteen guns provide a glimpse into the rise of violent crime over the past few years in cities across Michigan and the role that firearms trafficking has played. For example:
In Genesee County
- A Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol, which Martin purchased on April 22, 2021, was used in a drive-by shooting in Flint, which struck an 11-year-old girl.
- Another Glock 9mm pistol, which Martin also purchased on April 22, 2021, was used in a homicide in Flint.
In Kent County
- A Ruger 5.7 x 28 mm semi-automatic pistol, which Martin purchased on September 4, 2021, was used to kill a 2-year-old child on February 9, 2022, in Wyoming, Michigan. The Kent County Prosecutor has filed charges against the victim’s father, Seninta Parks, in this case.
- A Glock .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol, which Martin purchased on September 7, 2021, was used in a shooting on the Blue Bridge in downtown Grand Rapids on September 11, 2022, in which four people were injured. Moreover, this same gun was used in two prior shootings in Grand Rapids.
- A Glock 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, which Martin purchased on September 7, 2021, was used in three separate drive-by shooting incidents in Grand Rapids over the next two months.
In Isabella County
- A Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, which Martin purchased on September 10, 2021, was recovered by Central Michigan University Police in connection to a series of vehicle break-ins.
Martin was told by investigators that the Ruger 5.7 x 28 mm semi-automatic pistol he purchased on September 4, 2021, was used to kill a child, as described above. Undeterred, Martin attempted to straw purchase and traffic another firearm to a person he knew was a convicted felon. Law enforcement then arrested Martin and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan charged him for the crimes he now stands convicted.
“Gun trafficking and straw purchasing is not a victimless crime. The act of knowingly enabling a prohibited person to purchase a firearm puts firearms in the hands of criminal organizations and violent criminals presenting a grave threat to the safety of our communities,” said, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai. “ATF’s relationship with federal, state, tribal, and local partners continue to be successful in removing illegal firearms from the streets.”
“This sentencing is a huge win for public safety in Grand Rapids. We know that illegal guns from this trafficker were used in the shooting on the Blue Bridge in September,” said Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom. “I am thankful for the work of the U.S Attorney’s Office and the ATF to investigate and build this case. Getting illegal guns, and the source of those guns, off the street is a critical piece in reducing gun violence in our city.”
“The Central Michigan University (CMU) Police Department appreciates the collaborative relationship with the ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said CMU Police Department Lt. Mike Sienkiewicz. “Interagency collaboration and teamwork between local and federal law enforcement is essential in maintaining safe communities. This case represents an important effort to combat illegal gun purchases and gun violence that effect our communities.”
This case was investigated by the ATF and the Metro Pattern Crimes Team consisting of detectives from the Kentwood Police Department, Kent County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wyoming Police Department as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide initiative to reduce violent crime. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices, and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement work closely together to identify and prosecute individuals responsible for driving violent crime in our communities to make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Individuals with information or concerns about violent crime or firearms offenses should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, visit: https://www.justice.gov/psn.