For Immediate Release
Jury Returns Guilty Verdicts Against Denver Man Who Offered to Buy Guns for Strangers on YouTube-
Defendant Purchased an AR-15 Style Rifle for an Undercover Agent and Two Semi-Automatic Handguns for a Known Felon
DENVER – United States Attorney John Walsh and Special Agent in Charge Ken Croke, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Denver Division announced today that Kenneth Allen Francis, 28, of Denver Colorado, was found guilty yesterday by a jury after a three-day trial on three counts related to the criminal acquisition or disposal of firearms.
A grand jury returned an indictment on February 10, 2016 charging the defendant with three counts: making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer on January 12, 2016; making a false statement to a different federally licensed firearms dealer on January 22, 2016; and unlawful disposition of a firearm on January 22, 2016. Trial began on July 11, 2016 before U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez. A jury returned a verdict of guilty on each of the counts of the indictment on July 13, 2016.
According to facts presented during the jury trial, Francis posted a YouTube video in which he stated “I’m here to help you get your guns.” He went on to say that he did not care whether the person he was buying guns for had a history of violent crime or sex crime. Special Agents with the ATF, after watching the video, designed an undercover operation to determine whether the defendant was serious about his offer to buy guns for people. After an undercover agent made contact, the defendant agreed to carry through with his offer, purchasing an AR-15 style rifle for the undercover agent on January 12, 2016. On January 22, 2016 the defendant again carried through on his offer by purchasing two semi-automatic handguns, this time for an ATF confidential informant who the defendant knew was a convicted felon and therefore prohibited from purchasing guns. After that purchase, the defendant gave both pistols to the confidential informant.
The defendant faces a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000, for each of the three counts of conviction. Sentencing is currently set for October 27, 2016 at 10:30am.
“For good reason, the law prohibits convicted felons from possessing firearms,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “This defendant sought to erase that common sense rule by deliberately and aggressively hawking firearms to criminals, the public’s safety and his fellow Coloradans be damned.”
"Francis demonstrated flagrant disregard for laws designed to keep firearms out of criminal hands," said ATF Special Agent in Charge Ken Croke. "His reckless behavior put everyone at risk."
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason St. Julien and Bryan D. Fields.