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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Arizona
Gary M. Restaino, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Gilbert Man Sentenced to 33 Months for Dealing in Firearms Without a License

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Chris Oliver, 24, of Gilbert, Arizona, was sentenced on October 17, 2022, by United States District Judge Douglas L. Rayes to 33 months in prison. Oliver previously pleaded guilty to Dealing in Firearms Without a License.

Oliver was indicted for conspiracy to purchase firearms from Arizona gun stores using false statements in order to resell those firearms for profit. Oliver and his co-defendants, Dion Delpino, 24, of Gilbert, Arizona, Michael Troy Kelly, Jr., 24, of Tempe, Arizona, and Eric Roy Rathbun, II, 24, of Chandler, Arizona, were also charged with 76 instances of making a false statement during the purchase of firearms. All of Oliver’s co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to making false statements and are pending sentencing.

From July 2019 through November 2020, Oliver and his co-conspirators purchased at least 123 firearms for the purpose of selling them for a profit. Oliver then resold those firearms, mostly handguns, for a profit. Thirty of those handguns were recovered by law enforcement: 28 in or around Oakland, California, and two in the Phoenix metro area. Many of these firearms were recovered from prohibited possessors—persons who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms. Six were recovered in six separate homicide investigations, including one incident in which Stockton (California) Police Officer Jimmy Arty Inn was murdered while responding to a domestic violence call. Oliver was a manager of this criminal enterprise: he directed his co-conspirators to purchase weapons on his behalf. Oliver, Kelly, and Delpino were first indicted in August 2021; additional counts against Oliver and Rathbun were added in May 2022.

This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, many stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, and Scottsdale Police Departments, as well as Homeland Security Investigations and the Commercial Narcotics Interdiction Unit of the Phoenix Police Department, conducted the investigation in this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Coleen Schoch, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.


RELEASE NUMBER: 2022-209_Oliver, et al

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