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United States Attorney's Office News Release

 

April 25, 2007 -

THREE CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY SELLING 22 FIREARMS TO UNDERCOVER AGENT – MOST OF FIREARMS WERE SOLD WITHIN A FEW FEET OF SCHOOL

United States Attorney Pat Meehan and ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Mark Potter today announced the unsealing of an indictment* charging three Philadelphia men in a conspiracy to sell firearms without a license to an undercover agent from March 2006 to March 2007. Most of the transactions took place near the John Paul Jones Junior High School at 2950 Memphis Street in Philadelphia. Charged are Eugenio Santiago-Mejias, a.k.a “Tito,” Jose Luis Guzman, and Jairo Correa-Merejildo, a.k.a “Cabeza.” Mejias also faces numerous counts of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.

“Eighteen of the 22 firearms were sold within 50 feet or so of a school,” said Meehan. “As the indictment alleges, the defendants made it clear that they were willing to supply a customer with whatever firepower he required for use on the streets in Philadelphia and New York.”

For example, on June 20, 2006, Santiago-Mejias advised the undercover agent that he had a .25 caliber pistol with an extra magazine for $450, a shotgun for sale for $600, and that a friend of his had a “MAC 11” for sale for $1,600 along with an “AK” for $1,500. Later that same day, the agent met with Santiago-Mejias at his residence on East Cambria Street and parked his car outside the house where he was introduced to Jose Luis Guzman. During the meeting, Santiago-Mejias entered his residence after instructing Guzman to park behind the undercover agent’s vehicle, after which Guzman then removed a shotgun from a green duffle bag and placed it in the undercover agent’s vehicle. Shortly afterwards, Santiago-Mejias exited his residence and entered the undercover agent’s vehicle where he then sold the agent a Beretta, .25 caliber pistol loaded with 22 rounds of .25 caliber ammunition, and 12 gauge shotgun loaded with three shotgun shells for a total price of $1050.

A week later, Santiago Mejias sold the agent a rifle with obliterated serial numbers loaded with 58 rounds of live ammunition, an M-11, 9 millimeter pistol with obliterated serial numbers and loaded with six 9 millimeter rounds of ammunition, and a .380 caliber pistol loaded with seven rounds of ammunition for a total price of $3,100 for all three firearms.


DEFENDANT

ADDRESS


AGE [Date of Birth]

Eugenio Santiago-Mejias

Philadelphia

47

Jose Luis Guzman

Philadelphia

23

Jairo Correa-Merejildo

Philadelphia

21

If convicted, Santiago-Mejias faces a potential sentence of 360 months to life imprisonment within federal sentencing guidelines and a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 months imprisonment. Guzman and Correa-Merejildo each face a potential sentence of 151 to 188 months imprisonment within federal sentencing guidelines.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, investigators of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, Office of Tax Enforcement under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner William Comiskey, Assistant Deputy Commissioner Peter Farrell, and Director Thomas Stanton. This case has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Jose R. Arteaga.


UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT, PENNSYLVANIA
Suite 1250, 615 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Contact:
RICH MANIERI
Media Contact
215.861.8525


*An Indictment or Information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Benjamin Franklin Photo by B. Krist for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation