For Immediate Release
Lawrence Man Sentenced for Conspiracy To Steal Firearms From New Hampshire Gun Stores
CONCORD – A Lawrence man was sentenced in federal court in Concord for conspiring to steal firearms from three different New Hampshire gun stores, U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young announces.
William Mejia, 20, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Samantha Elliot to 30 months in prison and 2 years of supervised release. Mejia was also ordered to pay $23,915.02 in restitution. Mejia and his two co-defendants, Johariel Quezada and Ethan Ayala, were indicted on June 13, 2022. On March 29, 2023, Mejia pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal firearms from a federal firearms licensee.
“The defendant and his confederates traveled to New Hampshire multiple times for one purpose – to steal 43 firearms. Such brazen behavior poses risks to our communities and will simply not be tolerated,” said U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young. “As is apparent from this investigation, law enforcement will continue to work together to ensure that those who target federal firearm licensees will be caught, prosecuted, and incarcerated for lengthy periods upon conviction.”
“ATF works closely with our law enforcement partners as well as Federal Firearms Licensees to ensure firearms that are stolen and diverted into the community to further criminal activity, are held accountable for their actions. This sentence illustrates ATF’s abiding commitment to justice,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge James Ferguson.
Between August 29, 2021 and October 4, 2021, Mejia conspired with others to steal firearms from three New Hampshire Federal Firearms Licensees. Throughout the conspiracy, 43 firearms were stolen from Milford Firearms in Milford, Second Amendment Arms in Windham, and MacPherson Firearms in Brentwood. Multiple stolen firearms were recovered from a co-defendant’s residence, including one with Mejia’s fingerprints on it. Videos recovered from a co-defendant’s phone as well as from social media showed numerous stolen firearms and admissions of Mejia’s involvement in the conspiracy.
Mejia’s codefendant, Johariel Quezada, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release on May 12, 2023. Ethan Ayala is scheduled to be sentenced on April 15, 2024.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives led the investigation. Valuable assistance was provided by the Andover Police Department, the Brentwood Police Department, the Haverhill Police Department, the Lawrence Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police, the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office, the Salem Police Department, the Somersworth Police Department, the Saugus Police Department, the Wellesley Police Department, and the Windham Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney John J. Kennedy prosecuted the 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.