Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Four charged with Lying to Unlawfully Procure Firearms
MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A federal grand jury returned indictments on Wednesday charging four individuals with lying to unlawfully obtain firearms, United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, announced.
Curtessa Monet Franklin, 21, of Canton, Massachusetts, is alleged to have traveled to West Virginia and conspired with Deven Deloreece Johnson, 21, and Ashanta Renea Marshman, 22, both of Martinsburg, to provide false information in order to unlawfully purchase firearms. On at least two occasions in December 2015, the defendants allegedly attempted to purchase firearms in Berkeley County, West Virginia by falsely claiming that Johnson and Marshman were purchasing the firearms for themselves. In fact, they were attempting to purchase the firearms for Franklin.
Franklin, Johnson, and Marshman are charged with “Conspiracy to Provide a False Statement During the Attempted Purchase of a Firearm.” Franklin is also charged with two counts of “False Statement During the Attempted Purchase of a Firearm.” Johnson and Marshman are also charged with one count of “False Statement During the Attempted Purchase of a Firearm.” The defendants face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. The ATF and West Virginia State Police investigated.
In a separate matter, Christopher Lee Linn, 29, of Maryland, was indicted on one count of “False Statement in Acquisition of a Firearm,” one count of “Aggravated Identity Theft,” and two counts of “Felon in Possession of a Firearm.” Linn is alleged to have stolen the identity of another individual and used that information to unlawfully pawn and then re-acquire a firearm in Berkeley County. Linn was previously convicted of a felony in Allegany County, Maryland and therefore is prohibited from possessing firearms.
Linn faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each of the three firearms charges and an additional two years in prison for the aggravated identify theft charge. The matter was investigated by the ATF, the West Virginia State Police, and the Allegany County, Maryland Combined County Criminal Investigation Unit.
“The ATF Washington Field Division is dedicated to making the community safer by preventing criminals from illegally obtaining firearms,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Michael Boxler. “These investigations, in conjunction with the West Virginia State Police, show our commitment to prosecuting those who seek to purchase firearms unlawfully or on behalf of prohibited persons in West Virginia."
U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld met this week with prosecutors from Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan County to encourage the continued collaboration between state and federal authorities in the investigation of firearms-related offenses.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Camilletti is prosecuting Linn and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Adkins is prosecuting Franklin, Johnson and Marshman on behalf of the government.
An indictment is merely an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.