For Immediate Release
Robbinsdale Man Pleads Guilty in Straw-Buying Scheme Involving Purchase of Firearms for Ineligible Persons
MINNEAPOLIS—Yesterday in federal court, a 21-year-old Robbinsdale man pleaded guilty to one count of Illegal Receipt of a Firearm by a Person Under Indictment. Keniko Duane Bland, who was indicted on May 12, 2014 along with four co-defendants, entered his guilty plea before United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim.
As set forth in the plea agreement, on November 27, 2013, Bland was charged in Hennepin County state court with Terroristic Threats, a crime punishable by a prison term exceeding one year, and, therefore, was prohibited by federal law from receiving a firearm or ammunition.
On February 7, 2014, Bland enlisted a co-defendant to buy him a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, a 15 round magazine, and two boxes of ammunition from a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”). Thereafter, the co-defendant provided the firearm and accessories to Bland.
On February 10, 2014, the defendant was riding in a vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation in Minneapolis. Law enforcement found three firearms in the vehicle, which Bland admitted to knowingly and voluntarily possessing.
For his crime, Bland faces a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a supervised release term of three years.
Co-defendants Diontre Ramone Hill, 21, of Minneapolis, and Abdul Lee Watkins, 21, of Brooklyn Park, both entered a guilty plea for their role in the conspiracy. Hill, on July 10, 2014, and Watkins, on July 16, 2014, each pleaded guilty before Judge Tunheim to one count of Felon in Possession of a Firearm.
All sentences will be determined at future hearings, yet to be scheduled.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol M. Kayser.