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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Virginia
Christopher R. Kavanaugh, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, May 12, 2023

Straw Purchaser Sentenced to 42 Months for Lying To Buy Firearm

ROANOKE, Va. – A Roanoke man, who made an illegal straw purchase of a firearm for a convicted felon, was sentenced this week to 42 months in federal prison.

Garland Thomas Lawton, 25, pleaded guilty in February 2023 to one count of making a false statement to a federal firearms licensee in connection with the acquisition of a firearm.

According to court documents, on May 22, 2020, Lawton purchased a Taurus 9mm pistol from Doomsday Tactical, a federal firearms dealer located in the Western District of Virginia. As part of the purchase, Lawton claimed that he was the intended owner of the firearm, when, in fact, he was actually purchasing the firearm on behalf of Jermaine Drummond, a convicted felon, who paid Lawton $220 in cash to get the pistol.

The firearm was later recovered in Maryland on September 10, 2022, in connection with criminal activity.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia and Michael Weddel, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced the sentence today.

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristin B. Johnson prosecuted the case for the United States.

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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