DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Delaware

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Charles M. Oberly, III
, United States Attorney
Contact: Edmond Falgowski

Heroin User Sentenced to Incarceration for Straw Purchasing Handguns

WILMINGTON, Del. – United States District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews sentenced Michael Nolting, age 25, of Newark, Delaware to 36 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Nolting had pled guilty to making false statements to a licensed firearms dealer in the acquisition of a firearm. 


The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Delaware Charles M. Oberly, III and William McMullan, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF).


According to statements made at the sentencing hearing and documents filed in court, over an approximate four week period beginning in July 2014, Nolting, then a heroin user, straw purchased a total of five semi-automatic pistols for his several heroin suppliers, falsely denying that he was a drug user, and fraudulently purporting that he was the actual purchaser, when, in fact, he knew the drug dealers were the actual purchasers. 


A “straw purchase” occurs when an individual who is not eligible to lawfully purchase a firearm solicits another person to conduct the transaction. Among other requirements, ATF Form 4473 required Nolting to certify that he was the actual buyer of the firearms and that he was not using any unlawful drugs.


“It is a violation of federal law to make a false statement in order to purchase a firearm.  It is even more egregious to supply illegally obtained firearms to drug dealers,” said U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly, III.


William McMullan, Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said, “ATF’s primary mission is to target violent criminals who illegally possess firearms as well as those who help to arm criminals.  This case is an example of ATF’s commitment to identifying individuals who illegally purchase firearms for prohibited persons and then holding them accountable for their actions.”     


This case was prosecuted by Edmond Falgowski and investigated by the special agents and task force officers of the Wilmington Office of the ATF. 


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Baltimore Field Division