For Immediate Release
Madison County Man Pleads Guilty as Convicted Felon Trying to Buy Gun with Counterfeit Money
HUNTSVILLE – A Madison County man pleaded guilty today in federal court to being a convicted felon and trying to buy a pistol with counterfeit money, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Michael Williams and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent in Charge Marcus Watson.
MONTREZ CHEBEIR MARTIN, 33, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon to one count of passing counterfeit obligations or securities and one count of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. His sentencing is scheduled Oct. 2.
“Felons who desire to buy firearms will be aggressively prosecuted and should concern all of us. Felons who desire to buy firearms with counterfeit bills exacerbate our concerns even more,” Town said. “Thanks to the victim’s quick action in reporting the crime to police, and to the dedicated work of ATF and the Secret Service, this felon will serve federal punishment in a federal facility under the federal guidelines.”
“This individual was prevented from illegally purchasing a firearm with counterfeit currency,” Williams said. “This case highlights one of the many ways the U.S. Secret Service collaborates with local, state, and federal agencies to combat financial crimes affecting our communities.”
“This court action demonstrates ATF’s commitment to target illegal firearms trafficking in all forms, to include the use of the internet,” Watson said. “ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence leverages technology to reduce violent firearms-related crimes.”
According to Martin’s plea agreement with the government, he attempted his gun purchase with counterfeit money as follows:
Martin answered an individual’s advertisement of a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol and 450 rounds of ammunition for sale on the website, armslist.com, in September 2017. Martin and the seller agreed to meet in a Decatur business parking lot so Martin could buy the gun.
The seller first asked Martin if he were a felon, which Martin said he was not, and the seller then gave Martin the pistol and ammunition. The agreed price for the gun was $450. Martin gave the seller $400 and as he began counting it, Martin started walking quickly away. The seller realized the money was counterfeit, seeing Chinese characters on three $100 bills.
The seller pulled a pistol and jumped in front of the vehicle Martin was in, telling Martin to open the door and place the pistol and ammunition on the ground, and Martin complied before driving away.
The seller reported the incident to police and later picked Martin out of a photo lineup.
The maximum penalty for passing counterfeit obligations is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and the maximum penalty for being a felon in possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Secret Service and ATF investigated the case in conjunction with the Decatur and Huntsville police departments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Davis Barlow is prosecuting the case.