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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Arizona
Gary M. Restaino, United States Attorney
Contact: Zach J. Stoebe
For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 10, 2023

FFL Owner Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Providing a Firearm to Essa Williams, Alleged Shooter of Phoenix Police Department Officer Tyler Moldovan

PHOENIX – Dwayne Keith Anderson, 51, of Phoenix was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan on Monday to six months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Anderson pleaded guilty on May 24 to false statement during the purchase of a firearm, aid and abet.

Anderson was a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), doing business as 602 Firearms Instruction L.L.C. in Phoenix. Anderson met Essa Williams at a gun show, where he told Williams he could assist him with firearm sales by helping him avoid a background check. Williams had several felony convictions, had previously been sentenced to the Arizona Department of Corrections and therefore could not legally possess a firearm.

On December 13, 2021, Williams texted Anderson about purchasing a firearm and sent false information for a woman, including a photo of her driver’s license. Anderson filled out the Firearms Transaction Record with the false information and signature of the woman. Although Anderson knew that the purchaser of the firearm must fill out the Firearms Transaction Record, Anderson completed the form with the false information. Anderson sold Williams a Masterpiece Arms Defender 9mm pistol, using the false information provided by Williams. Anderson had never met the woman and only saw Williams again when he arrived at Anderson’s house that night to pick up the firearm.

Williams is pending trial in Maricopa County Superior Court for allegedly shooting Phoenix Police Department (PPD) Officer Tyler Moldovan on December 14, 2021. The Masterpiece Arms Defender 9mm pistol was not the firearm that was used to shoot Officer Moldovan. Pursuant to a search warrant, PPD detectives searched Williams’ black Dodge Charger after the shooting of Officer Moldovan, locating the Masterpiece Arms Defender 9mm pistol on the back seat floorboard.

“Federal firearms laws and regulations make America safer,” said U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino. “These laws are designed to make it harder for the drivers of violence in our communities to obtain guns. An FFL like Mr. Anderson who sells a firearm to a felon betrays the public trust and places his fellow citizens at risk.”

“Federal Firearms Licensees are held to a high standard and when they do not abide by these laws, it does a disservice to the community and to other law-abiding Federal Firearms Licensees,” said Brendan Iber, ATF Special Agent in Charge. “ATF will aggressively pursue anyone that thwarts these federal firearms laws and regulations. It is unacceptable for FFLs, or anyone, to provide firearms to felons.”

This case was 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 make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation in this case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, is handling the prosecution.

Case number: CR-22-00277-PHX-SPL


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