Former Owner of Potato Chip Stand Sentenced to Prison after Pleading Guilty to Selling Guns from Lexington Market

Admits to Selling 15 Guns in 18 Months Without a License

September 22, 2009

Baltimore, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett sentenced Michael Papantonakis, age 53, of Baltimore, to 15 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after he pleaded guilty today to selling guns without a license, announced United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein.

According to his plea agreement, law enforcement agents learned in May 2007 that Papantonakis had been selling guns to individuals in the Baltimore area. At the time, Papantonakis owned a potato chip stand in the Lexington Market in Baltimore. Beginning in September 2007, a confidential source and undercover police officer spoke several times by phone with Papantonakis to arrange for the purchase of guns from Papantonakis. Undercover law enforcement officers and confidential sources met with Papantonakis on nine occasions to buy guns. Most of the meetings occurred at Papantonakis’s stand at Lexington Market.

During several of these meetings, Papantonakis used his girlfriend, an employee of the stand, to accept money on his behalf for the guns. Law enforcement saw the girlfriend show a gun behind the counter of the stand and later, transfer another gun in a plain paper bag from the stand. On another occasion, both Papantonakis and his girlfriend were seen transferring guns to undercover law enforcement officers from the loading dock of the Lexington Market.

On April 1, 2009, Papantonakis’s residence was searched and 13 guns were recovered. Papantonakis, who was not licensed to sell guns, sold approximately 15 guns from September 2007 through April 1, 2009.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the Baltimore City State’s Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy and her office, the Baltimore Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorneys Debra L. Dwyer and John W. Sippel, Jr., who prosecuted the case.



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