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Boulder man pleads guilty to possession of silencers which were not registered in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record

April 20, 2012

DENVER – Eric Lee, age 33, of Boulder, Colorado, pled guilty yesterday to possession of a firearm, specifically assault rifle silencers, which were not registered in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and ATF Special Agent in Charge Marvin Richardson announced. The guilty plea was tendered before U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez. Lee is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Martinez on July 17, 2012. Lee was originally arrested based on a Criminal Complaint on October 21, 2011. He and a co-defendant were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on October 31, 2011.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, in September of 2011, the ATF received information from a confidential informant that a Matthew Colin Laflin (a co-defendant in this case), was in possession of silencers for AR-15 rifles and had offered to sell the informant a silencer for $300. During the course of the investigation, Laflin informed the informant that he was in a National Guard Unit and a Staff Sergeant had stolen a bunch of AR-15 silencers from his military command.

The informant met Laflin in Northglenn, where the informant paid Laflin $300 for a silencer. The transaction was being monitored by ATF special agents. Laflin was observed retrieving the silencer from Eric Lee, a Boulder Police officer and fellow National Guard member, at a store parking lot. Laflin then delivered the silencer to the informant.

Laflin later arranged for the sale of another silencer to an undercover agent working with the informant. This time the price for the silencer was $500. Prior to the transaction agents observed Laflin meet with Lee to pick up the silencer. The undercover agent met with Laflin, paid the $500, and obtained the silencer.

On October 25, 2012, federal agents arrested Lee relating to the illegal possession and transfer of unregistered silencers. After waiving his rights, Lee stated that he had obtained the silencers while on active duty in the United States Army in Iraq in 2006. He stated that he brought approximately 25 silencers back from Iraq. Lee admitted to learning the regulations under the National Firearms Act, including those that deal with silencers. Lee then consented to a search of his Boulder residence. Twenty three (23) OPS Inc. silencers, the same type transferred to Laflin, were obtained from Lee’s residence. Lee also possessed four silencers legally. A check of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record did not reveal any weapons to include silencers to be registered to Lee. The four silencers with the paperwork were registered to a trust of Lee. The 23 silencers found were not registered with that trust.

The 23 silencers in this case were part of a shipment of approximately 200 silencers to Fort Carson Army Base in Colorado, specifically the 4th Infantry Division. The silencers were property of the Department of Defense. The 25 silencers were in working condition, many of them were new.

The case against Matthew Laflin is ongoing. He is scheduled to go to trial before Judge Martinez on June 18, 2012. The charges against Laflin are allegations, and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Sibert.


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