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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York
Carla B. Freedman, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, March 1, 2024

Former Marine Corps Private from Kingston Pleads Guilty to Gun Trafficking Charges

ALBANY, N.Y. — Rylan Peterson, 22, of Kingston, pled guilty on Wednesday to conspiring with others to unlawfully obtain firearms from a licensed dealer by making false statements, also known as “straw purchasing” firearms, and to unlawfully transferring firearms to an out-of-state resident.

U.S. Attorney Carla B. Freedman and John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), made the announcement.

Peterson, a native of Kingston then serving as a private first class in the Marine Corps at a base in North Carolina, admitted that he entered into an agreement with Oryn McLeod, for Peterson to acquire six semi-automatic handguns on behalf of McLeod and others. Peterson then obtained the guns from North Carolina resident Mitchell Locke, who purchased them from a licensed dealer in North Carolina, falsely representing at the time of the purchase that he was acquiring the firearms for himself. McLeod paid Peterson for the guns, which Peterson transported to New York from North Carolina. McLeod was subsequently arrested for unlawful possession of two of the handguns.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 10 before Senior U.S. District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn. Peterson faces up to 25 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of five years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

McLeod has pled guilty to conspiracy to make false representations in connection with purchasing firearms. Locke is pending trial on the same charge. The charges against Locke are merely accusations, and he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

ATF and the Kingston Police Department are investigating this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dustin C. Segovia and Emmet O’Hanlon are prosecuting the case.

This case was prosecuted under the new criminal provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The Act is the first federal statute specifically designed to target the unlawful trafficking and straw-purchasing of firearms.


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