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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Indiana
Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, July 31, 2023

Man Sentenced to Federal Prison After Using Instagram To Illegally Sell Guns, Including to a Minor

INDIANAPOLIS- Kelvin Henderson, 23, of Indianapolis, Indiana, has been sentenced to 1 year in federal prison after pleading guilty to making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

According to court documents, between April 2 and April 26, 2021, Kelvin Henderson visited a federally licensed Indiana firearms dealer at its Indianapolis, Carmel, and Lebanon locations. In total, Henderson purchased six Glock 9mm handguns and one Ruger AR-556. Multiple purchases of identical firearms in a short period of time is indicative of gun trafficking. As part of each purchase, Henderson falsely stated on required federal firearms transaction forms that he was the actual buyer of the firearms. In fact, Henderson illegally purchased the guns on behalf of others, a gun trafficking scheme known as “straw purchasing.”

A straw purchase scheme is when a person not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm falsely states to a federally licensed gun dealer that they are purchasing a firearm for themselves, when they know that the gun is actually intended for someone else, frequently someone who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing the firearm themselves.

Surveillance video from the gun dealer showed Henderson handing one of the firearms he purchased to another person immediately after leaving the store. In an interview with investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Henderson admitted that he used Instagram to arrange to purchase the guns for two individuals, including one who he stated was a student at an Indianapolis high school and too young to purchase firearms legally.

“Gun traffickers who put deadly weapons in the hands of people with no business having them fuel the epidemic of gun violence in our communities,” said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Today’s gun traffickers are using Instagram and other social media platforms to illegally put guns in the hands of children and criminals. Together with our partners at ATF we will make our neighborhoods safer by targeting the sources of crime guns and holding illegal gun traffickers accountable.”

“Kelvin Henderson not only illegally purchased firearms, but he did so knowingly risking the lives of minors and the safety of our community. Straw purchasing is not a victimless crime and will not be tolerated,” said Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCormick. “ATF and its law enforcement partners will identify and hold accountable those individuals who continue to contribute to the violence in our cities.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge, Matthew P. Brookman. Judge Brookman also ordered that Henderson be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 1 year following his release from federal prison.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United Stats Attorney Lawrence D. Hilton, who prosecuted this case.

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 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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