FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
FRIDAY, APRIL 11, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
THREE INDIANAPOLIS RESIDENTS INDICTED ON WEAPONS CHARGES
IN STRAW PURCHASE CONSPIRACY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff of the Criminal Division announced today a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Indiana has indicted three Indianapolis residents on weapons charges as part of a conspiracy to purchase firearms for prohibited persons.
Dion L. Baugh, a/k/a Daneta Massey, 32, Cecelia D. Land, 25, and Juan C. Johnson, 32, were named in the 51-count indictment, and arrested on April 10. The indictment charges Baugh, Land and Johnson with one count of conspiracy to make false statements in connection with acquiring firearms. Baugh was also charged with seven counts of making false statements in connection with acquiring firearms, seven counts alleging unlawful possession and receipt of firearms as a convicted person, one count of possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers, and one count of possessing a narcotic controlled substance with intent to distribute.
Land and Johnson were also charged with 10 counts of making false statements in connection with acquiring firearms. Land was charged additionally with eight counts of disposing of firearms to a convicted person and eight counts of disposing of firearms to an unlawful user of a controlled substance. Johnson was also charged with eight counts of unlawfully possessing and receiving firearms as a convicted person.
According to the indictment, the defendants conspired from about July 12, 2000 until at least Oct. 16, 2000 to make false statements to licensed firearms dealers. The indictment alleges that Land and another individual represented in these statements that they were the actual buyers of the firearms, when in fact they were purchased for Baugh and Johnson, who are barred as convicted felons from owning or possessing firearms. As part of the conspiracy, Land purchased 33 firearms from licensed firearm dealers on 10 different occasions at Johnson’s request, with money provided by him. Although Land certified on federal firearm forms that she was the actual buyer of the firearms, she then delivered them to Johnson, a convicted felon, who then turned them over to Baugh, also a convicted felon.
The indictment also alleges that another person purchased 21 firearms on seven different occasions at the request of Baugh. As part of the conspiracy, Baugh allegedly purchased tools from a local hardware store to remove, obliterate and alter the importers’ or manufacturers’ serial numbers on several firearms, in order to prevent any of the firearms purchased from being traced back to the individuals who purchased the weapons for the felons.
The maximum sentence for conspiracy is five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, and the maximum sentence for the false statement charges is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges of unlawful possession of a firearms by a convicted person, disposing of firearms to a convicted person, and disposing of firearms to an unlawful user of controlled substances each carry maximum sentences of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. In addition, Baugh faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted of possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers, and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted of possessing narcotics with intent to distribute.
The indictment and arrests are the result of an investigation led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, working with the FBI, the Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force, the Indianapolis Police Department, and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys from the Domestic Security Section of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division.