For Immediate Release
Ohio-to-Canada Gun Smuggling Ringleader Sentenced to Prison
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A New York man was sentenced here in U.S. District Court to 36 months in prison and fined $30,000 for conspiring to illegally purchase firearms.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Jonathan McPherson, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced the sentence handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
Jerome Watkins Jr., 33, of Niagara Falls, was one of four individuals charged in an Ohio-to-Canada gun smuggling conspiracy in August 2018.
Jeremy Hearn, 40, and Marcedes Green, 28, both of Columbus, and Kristina DeLorenzo, 31, of Lewiston, N.Y., were also charged by a federal grand jury in Columbus.
According to court documents, from at least January 2018 until April 2018, they served as either straw purchasers, couriers or resellers of firearms purchased in Columbus and eventually resold in Canada.
Hearn would purchase the firearms from various federally-licensed firearms dealers in Central Ohio by providing false information on ATF Form 4473. He traveled to at least 12 different federal firearms licensee stores in Central Ohio.
Hearn purchased at least 32 firearms and Green, with money provided by Hearn, assisted in the purchase of at least six of the firearms.
Hearn, Watkins and DeLorenzo then acted as couriers or assisted in courier duties, regularly traveling between Columbus and Niagara Falls and/or across the Canadian border for resale.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by ATF, and the assistance of the ATF field office in Buffalo, New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of Ohio and the Western District of New York, and L.E.P.D. Firearms and Range in Columbus, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys S. Courter Shimeall and Kevin W. Kelley, who are prosecuting the case.
# # #