For Immediate Release
Two Men Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Firearm Purchases
NORFOLK, Va. – An Alexandria man and a Virginia Beach man were sentenced to prison today for illegally buying and possessing firearms, and for possessing firearms while involved in drug-trafficking crimes.
According to court documents, Ernest Dwayne Riley, 32, and Kaleb Raine Reiter, 22, were prohibited persons who purchased guns at different times from Julio Pino, a former U.S. Navy sailor who was sentenced in March 2019 for trafficking at least 60 firearms.
Riley was sentenced to more than four years in prison, while Reiter was sentenced to 10 years.
At the time Riley bought a gun from Pino, he had been convicted in Maryland of a misdemeanor punishable by 10 years in prison. He also purchased multiple hollow-point rounds of ammunition from Pino. Several months later, Riley attempted to purchase a gun at a federally licensed gun store and lied on the form about his prohibited status. While processing Riley’s gun application, the gun store clerk discovered Riley’s conviction and turned him down.
Riley was arrested in July 2019 during a traffic stop. His $60,000 Range Rover had a “Ghost Tag”—a license plate that does not come back on file when it is entered into DMV and police databases. Riley also provided the arresting officer with a fraudulent vehicle registration. The officer recovered from Riley’s SUV yet another handgun—this one loaded with an extended magazine—THC oil, and prescription pills inside a pill bottle with the label torn off.
Evidence recovered from Riley’s phone and subpoenaed from his financial accounts showed that for the last few years, he was making hundreds of thousands of dollars trafficking marijuana and THC oil from California into Hampton Roads—the same brand of THC oil recovered from his vehicle.
And at the time Reiter purchased a gun from Pino, he was drug user, including heroin, Xanax, and marijuana. Police later recovered that gun lying next to several MDA baggies while searching Reiter’s van during his arrest—he was wanted for assaulting and attempting to abduct someone driving next to him while both were stopped at a major Virginia Beach intersection in the middle of the day and, hours later, pointing that gun at his ex-girlfriend and her mother.
A year later, Reiter directed a teenage girl to steal a handgun from her stepfather. He then traded cocaine to the girl in exchange for the stolen gun.
Two months after that, Reiter brandished a third gun, pointing it at the victim of a vehicle accident he was involved in. A police officer later arrested him while in possession of that gun, Xanax, and a digital scale after receiving complaints that he had passed out in a booth at a local restaurant.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson prosecuted the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:19-cr-124.