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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Maine
Darcie N. McElwee, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Lewiston Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Exchanging Cash/Drugs for Illegal Firearms Purchases

BANGOR, Maine — A Lewiston man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Bangor for his role in an illegal straw purchasing conspiracy and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock, Jr. sentenced Abdullahi Issak, 26, to 10 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release. Issak pleaded guilty on April 13.

According to court records, between December 2021 and July 2022, Issak conspired to have 36 firearms straw purchased for him at federal firearms dealers throughout central and southern Maine. Issak directed the purchasers where to buy the firearms, what firearms to buy and provided them cash or drugs in return for engaging in the illegal transactions. Issak took possession of the firearms from the straw purchasers following each sale. He was also sentenced for knowingly possessing one of the firearms which was purchased for him at a federal firearms dealer in Jay. A 2019 New York felony conviction precluded Issak from possessing firearms. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case.

A straw purchase is an illegal firearm purchase where the actual buyer of the gun, being unable to pass the required federal background check or desiring to not have his or her name associated with the transaction, uses a proxy buyer who can pass the required background check to purchase the firearm for him/her.

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 of Justice 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.


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