Canadian Nexus Pass Holder Charged with Possessing AR-15 Rifle and False Statement
BUFFALO, N.Y.---U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced that David B. Patel, 39, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, was arrested in Niagara Falls, New York, and has been charged with unlawful possession of a firearm by an alien and with making a materially false statement to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. The firearm possession charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The false statement charge carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank T. Pimentel, who is handling the case, stated that on July 24, 2013, Patel ordered an AR-15 upper receiver over the Internet from a firearms dealer in the United States. Patel requested that the dealer ship the item to a postal address in Niagara Falls, New York. Then, on August 10, Patel – a NEXUS pass holder – entered the United States at the Whirlpool Bridge Port of Entry in Niagara Falls, New York, and told a Customs and Border Protection officer that he was entering the United States to shop at Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Instead, however, Patel went straight to the postal address in Niagara Falls, New York, and retrieved the package containing the AR-15 upper receiver. He was immediately arrested.
Patel made his initial appearance today in U.S. District Court, before the Honorable Hugh B. Scott, and was released on a $5,000 cash bond. His next court date is scheduled for August 30, 2013 also before Magistrate Judge Scott.
The criminal complaint is the result of an investigation on the part of the United States Homeland Security Investigations under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James Spero.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.