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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Illinois
John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 20, 2022

Federal Indictment Charges Man With Conspiring to “Straw Purchase” 27 Firearms in Indiana on Behalf of Chicago Resident

CHICAGO — A man has been charged in federal court with conspiring to “straw purchase” 27 firearms in Indiana on behalf of a Chicago resident.

From 2016 to 2019, RICARDO LARREA purchased 26 handguns and one shotgun from federally licensed dealers in Hammond, Ind., and falsely certified on required federal forms that he was the actual buyer of the guns, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Larrea purchased the guns on behalf of a Chicago resident who identified which firearms he wanted and paid Larrea to buy them, the indictment states. After falsely completing the forms and making the purchases, Larrea provided the firearms to the Chicago resident, the charges allege.

The indictment charges Larrea, 27, of Whiting, Ind., with one count of conspiracy to knowingly make false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm. Larrea pleaded not guilty Wednesday at his arraignment before U.S. District Judge John F. Kness. A status hearing was set for Nov. 18, 2022.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kavitha J. Babu and Jonathan L. Shih.

Disrupting illegal firearms trafficking is the focus of the Department of Justice’s Chicago Firearms Trafficking Strike Force. As part of the strike force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office collaborates with ATF and other federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in the Northern District of Illinois and across the country to help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms and identify patterns, leads, and potential suspects in violent gun crimes.

Holding firearm offenders accountable through federal prosecution is also a centerpiece of Project Safe Neighborhoods. In the Northern District of Illinois, U.S. Attorney Lausch and law enforcement partners have deployed the PSN program to attack a broad range of violent crime issues facing the district, particularly firearm offenses.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The conspiracy charge is punishable by a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

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