For Immediate Release
Fredericksburg Man Pleads Guilty to Straw Purchasing Numerous Firearms
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Fredericksburg man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to make false statements to federally licensed firearms dealers during the purchase of firearms.
“This case serves as another example of our resolve to hold accountable those who illegally purchase guns on behalf of others,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “While straw purchasers are often unaware of how the firearms they unlawfully obtain will be used, that’s what makes this conduct so dangerous, and it is why we must continue working together to prevent these crimes from occurring. Through our close partnerships on the federal, state, and local level, we have been leveraging the latest technology, evidence, data, and intelligence to combat firearms trafficking and reduce the tragic toll that gun violence has on our communities.”
According to court documents, Bernard Jenkins, Jr., 24, purchased 18 firearms from vendors in Fredericksburg and Colonial Heights between August 2019 and April 2020. Jenkins certified to the federally licensed firearms dealers from whom he purchased the firearms that he would be the owner of the firearms when, in fact, 16 of the firearms purchased by Jenkins were transferred to other individuals after purchasing. As reflected in the statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, several of the firearms purchased by Jenkins have been recovered at crime scenes since his purchases. Jenkins is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 8, 2022. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the plea.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald L. Walutes, Jr. is prosecuting the case.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:21-cr-202.