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April 9, 2010

BOSTON, MA - A Dartmouth man was arrested and charged in federal court today for lying while purchasing guns. One of the guns was allegedly later used by another man who shot at State Police investigators during a search warrant execution.

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Glenn N. Anderson; Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Boston Field Division; Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz; Colonel Marian McGovern; Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Chief Mark Pacheco of the Dartmouth Police Department, announced that THOMAS DEFRANCO, 53, of Dartmouth, Mass., was arrested on a Complaint charging him with making False Statements During the Purchase of Firearm on or about April 7 to November 4, 2009, in Westport, New Bedford, Middleboro and Berkley and elsewhere in Massachusetts.

The Affidavit in support of the Complaint, unsealed today, revealed that DEFRANCO allegedly purchased 12 firearms at licensed firearms dealers in Southeastern Massachusetts in 2009 at the request of two men, both of whom were heroin dealers. It is alleged that during the sales DEFRANCO falsely represented that the guns he was purchasing were for him. DEFRANCO allegedly then traded the purchased guns to the heroin dealers in return for heroin. According to the Affidavit, one of the guns DEFRANCO purchased, a FEG 9mm handgun, was recovered in the possession of Thomas Garnett on November 5, 2009 in New Bedford, Mass. Garnett used this weapon to shoot at members of the Massachusetts State Police multiple times, as they executed a search warrant at his residence. The troopers were struck by the gunfire in the area of their protective vests. Garnett was killed during the exchange of gunfire with police.

If convicted, DEFRANCO faces imprisonment of up to five years, to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.

The details contained in the Complaint Affidavit are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Dartmouth Police and Massachusetts State Police. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenn A. MacKinlay in Ortiz’s Strike Force Unit.


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