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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana
Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 8, 2024

2 Sentenced to a Total of Over 5 Years in Federal Prison for Trafficking Dozens of Firearms from Indianapolis to Chicago

INDIANAPOLIS- Miesha Webster, 27, of Indianapolis, has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison followed by two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to transfer firearms to an out-of-state resident and making a false statement in connection with the purchase of a firearm.

James Osborne III, 34, of Indianapolis, has been sentenced to 45 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to conspiracy to transfer firearms to an out-of-state resident.

According to court documents, between June 2021, and September 17, 2021, Miesha Webster and James Osborne III “straw purchased” at least 37 firearms from federally licensed firearms dealers in Indiana. Straw purchasing occurs when a person who is allowed to legally purchase a gun from a federally licensed dealer falsely states that they are purchasing a firearm for themselves, when they know that the gun is actually intended for someone else—frequently someone who is legally prohibited from making the purchase themselves.

As part of the straw purchasing scheme, Osborne drove Webster to firearms dealers, and Webster would purchase certain makes and models of firearms, falsely claiming the firearms were being purchased for herself, when they were in fact being purchased on behalf of Osborne to sell. Osborne told Webster what guns to buy and gave her the money to make the purchases. Osborne was prohibited from purchasing firearms himself.

Webster and Osborne sold the straw-purchased firearms to an individual from Chicago, Illinois. The buyer met Webster and Osborne in Indiana to purchase the guns, then took them back to Chicago. Under federal law, it is a crime to willfully transfer or sell firearms to another person in another state if neither individual is a federally licensed firearms dealer.

On September 13, 2021, Webster was observed arriving at a federally licensed firearms dealer in Brownsburg, Indiana, in a vehicle driven by Osborne. Webster left the store with a Glock 21 .40 caliber pistol and a Glock 26 9mm pistol. On the ATF form, she listed herself as the actual buyer and listed a false home address. Webster and Osborne took the two firearms, along with others purchased by Webster on a different date, to Lafayette, Indiana, where they sold the guns to their Chicago purchaser. ATF agents arrived on scene of the illegal deal and arrested both defendants.

In total, Webster purchased at least 51 firearms, 24 of which have been recovered by law enforcement agencies in addition to the six seized during Webster and Osborne’s arrest. Of the 24 recovered firearms, 17 were recovered in Chicago or surrounding cities in Illinois.

“Illegal gun sales fuel violence in Indiana, Chicago, and across the country, by putting deadly weapons in the hands of people with no lawful business having them,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “The federal prison sentences imposed here demonstrate that straw purchase schemes are serious crimes that carry serious consequences. I commend the ATF and our federal prosecutor for their efforts to reduce gun violence and hold gun traffickers accountable.”

“These defendants were both charged with violating the Gun Control Act by straw purchasing and trafficking firearms,” stated Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “In facilitating the flow of firearms to those who are prohibited from possessing them, they bear a measure of responsibility for the violence those firearms cause in our community. I hope this sentence serves as a warning to others who might consider doing this – ATF and our law enforcement partners will work to find you, as well, and hold you accountable for your actions.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case. The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Pamela Domash, who prosecuted this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.



Kelsie Clayton

Communications and Community Outreach Officer

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