For Immediate Release
St. Paul Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Straw Purchasing Dozens of Firearms
MINNEAPOLIS – A St. Paul man has pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with the illegal purchase of multiple firearms, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats.
According to court documents, between approximately May 2020 and May 2021, Geryiell Lamont Walker, 22, and his co-defendants Sarah Jean Elwood, 34, and Jeffrey Paul Jackson, 31, conspired together to illegally purchase dozens of firearms from various Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) in the State of Minnesota and to provide these firearms to individuals whom they knew could not lawfully possess them. As part of the straw-purchasing scheme, Elwood, who at the time had a permit-to-carry firearms, would go to various FFLs and purchase multiple firearms on behalf of Walker and others, who requested the firearms through Jackson and often provided the funds in advance of, or immediately after, the purchases. In making the purchases, Elwood knowingly misrepresented to the licensed dealers that she was the actual purchaser of the firearms, when in fact she and her co-defendants knew she was not. Walker, Jackson, and others helped arrange the deals, which included a $100 premium for each straw-purchased gun. In total, the defendants illegally straw purchased approximately 97 firearms, including approximately 62 firearms in May 2021 alone. To date, 18 of these 97 firearms have been recovered by local and federal law enforcement at various crime scenes or in the possession of persons legally prohibited from possessing firearms. The other 79 have not yet been recovered.
Walker pleaded guilty today before Senior U.S. District Judge Ann D. Montgomery to one count of aiding and abetting the making of false statements during purchase of firearms. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for July 27, 2022.
Straw purchasing typically involves a buyer who is permitted to purchase firearms from an FFL but who then unlawfully provides the purchased firearm to another person who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. When making a straw purchase, the buyer allows a prohibited person – typically a convicted felon – to illegally obtain a firearm by avoiding the national background check system.
This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-n....
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the ATF and the Blaine Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Bejar is prosecuting the case.