News and Press Releases

Former Uniontown Man Pleads Guilty To Straw Purchase Of Firearms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2011

PITTSBURGH, Pa. ‑ A resident of Uniontown, Pa., pleaded guilty on March 8, 2011, in federal court to charges of violating federal firearms laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Sermaine P. Darby, 28, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Joy Flowers Conti.

In connection with the guilty plea, the court was advised that Darby was buying guns for another individual who was precluded from lawfully purchasing or possessing firearms due to his pending Fayette County drug case and his previous felony drug conviction in the District of Columbia. This scenario is commonly referred to as a "straw purchase" of firearms. In this matter, Darby obtained: three pistols from Reese's Store in Smithfield, Pa., on July 3, 2007; three pistols from Woodland's World Store in Uniontown, Pa., on July 3, 3007; one pistol from Woodland's World on July8, 2007; and four pistols from Woodland's World on July14, 2007. The ATF and the Pennsylvania State Police stopped Darby from obtaining two more pistols from Marra's Mountaineer Sports Shop in Uniontown, Pa., on July 20, 2007.

Some of the guns have been located in the greater Washington, D.C. area near the co-defendant's hometown, one had been used in a homicide.

Judge Conti scheduled sentencing for June 30, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. The law provides for a total sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Ross E. Lenhardt is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Uniontown Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Darby with invaluable cooperation and assistance from the stores where the guns were purchased.

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