Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced for Straw Gun Purchases; Firearms Later Used in Local Crimes
BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Jacqueline Runyan, 48, of Bradford, PA, who was convicted of conspiracy to transport firearms purchased outside the state of residency, was sentenced to 12 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who is handling the case, stated that on December 20, 2008, the defendant purchased two firearms, .40 caliber pistols, for co-defendant Juan Lopez. On December 30, 2008, Runyan purchased an additional two firearms, another .40 caliber pistol and a .22 caliber pistol.
Runyan was arrested in September 2012, along with Juan Lopez, Robert Reed, Trisha Amidon, Robert Johnson, Misty Mihalko, Amy Hollingsworth, and Brett Abrams. According to the indictment, Juan Lopez recruited co-defendants residing in Pennsylvania to purchase firearms for him in exchange for cocaine and money. As a convicted felon, Lopez was unable to purchase guns on his own, prompting the need for the straw purchases.
The Indictment further states that Lopez went to stores that sold guns in Pennsylvania with defendants Reed, Runyan, Amidon, Johnson, Mihalko, and Hollingsworth to select the firearms he wanted them to purchase. Lopez then brought the guns back to the Buffalo area, where they would then be used in drug related activities. Some of the firearms were recovered after being used in various crimes in Buffalo.
Defendants Juan Lopez, Misty Mihalko, Trisha Amidon, Robert Johnson, Amy Hollingsworth, and Brett Abrams have all been convicted. Charges are pending against Robert Reed. 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.
“This successful investigation closed a clandestine gun running operation by which firearms were illegally brought into this community,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Law enforcement will continue to be diligent in identifying and prosecuting all such trafficking operations.”
Today’s sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Frank Christiano.