For Immediate Release
Indianapolis Woman Sentenced to 21 Months in Federal Prison for Illegal Purchase of a Firearm She Knew Her Son Intended to Use in a Violent Crime
INDIANAPOLIS — Tyesha Clark, 39, of Indianapolis has been sentenced to twenty-one months in federal prison after pleading guilty to making a false statement to a licensed firearms importer and engaging in the unlawful sale or transfer of a handgun to a juvenile who intended to use the gun in a crime of violence.
According to court documents, on March 13, 2021, Tyesha Clark purchased a Glock 19X 9mm handgun from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Indianapolis. During the purchase, Clark completed federal firearms purchase paperwork and falsely certified that she was the actual buyer of the handgun. In fact, she purchased the firearm for her sixteen-year-old son. In her guilty plea, Clark admitted that she knew or had reason to believe that her son intended to use it in the commission of a violent crime when she bought him the gun.
In text messages obtained by the ATF during the investigation, Clark communicated with her son about the model and cost of the Glock, as well as ammunition, as the March 13th purchase was in progress. Additionally, Clark sent text messages showing that she knew her son had a history of trading illegal guns on the street. The text messages further showed that Clark had reason to believe her son was dangerous, shot people, robbed people, and was involved in gang activity.
The messages showed that Clark disposed of firearms she believed were used by her son in illegal activity, purchased firearms to further his alleged illegal activities, and provided guidance on removing potential evidence of illegal activity from social media. Clark’s son is not charged in the federal case, and he remains innocent of any crimes until proven guilty.
“Far too many of the shootings and killings in our communities are committed by people who have no lawful business having a gun in the first place. Many of these dangerous criminals are armed because someone else committed a crime to get them a gun,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Straw purchasers share a measure of culpability for the violence and death they facilitate. The federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that illegally arming violent criminals carries serious consequences.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and IMPD investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. Judge Stinson also ordered that Clark be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for two years following her release from federal prison.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy C. Fugate, who prosecuted this case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.