United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
FOUR INDICTED FOR UNLICENSED DEALING AT GUN SHOWS
Indictment Follows November 2010 Searches with Hundreds of Firearms Seized
Seattle - Four men were charged in three separate indictments late last week by a federal grand jury following a lengthy undercover investigation into illegal firearms sales at gun shows. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) have been investigating those who violate gun sale regulations by using the gun shows for frequent and repetitive selling of firearms for profit. Those who are engaged in the business of selling firearms for profit are required to become a Federal Firearms Licensed Dealer (FFL). None of those indicted held a current Federal Firearms Dealer License.
The grand jury indicted ROY ALLOWAY, 56, of Belfair, Washington, for unlawful dealing in firearms. KENNETH GUSSONI, 55, or Bremerton, Washington and MARK SKILES, 46, of Belfair, Washington, were indicted for conspiracy to unlawfully deal in firearms and one count of unlawful dealing in firearms. GUSSONI is also charged with possessing an illegal silencer and possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number. DAVID DEVENNY, 68, of Olympia, Washington, was indicted for unlawful dealing in firearms and two counts of selling firearms to a prohibited person. DEVENNY was arrested in November 2010, following the sale of a gun to a prohibited person working with law enforcement.
“Gun shows are legal, but funneling illegal gun sales through gun shows is not,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Illegal gun sales allow guns to get in the wrong hands and blocks our ability to trace guns used in violent crimes. These defendants knew better, but put their profit ahead of the safety of the community.”
The indictments reveal the men were purchasing hundreds of guns from Federal Firearms Licensed Dealers and selling them at various gun shows. ALLOWAY purchased nearly 400 guns from three different FFLs between January 2005 and November 2010. ALLOWAY sold guns to undercover ATF agents at three different gun shows in 2009. SKILES and GUSSONI purchased approximately 117 guns from licensed dealers in 2009 and 2010, and repeatedly sold firearms to undercover agents at six different gun shows in Monroe, Centralia and Puyallup. DEVENNY purchased about 60 firearms in 2009-2010 and sold guns to undercover agents at gun shows in Centralia and Puyallup and from his home in Olympia.
When a Federal Firearms Licensed dealer (FFL) sells a weapon, he is required to fill out certain forms and conduct a background check. These forms help law enforcement trace guns subsequently used in crimes. The forms are not filled out by private sellers at gun shows.
In the course of the investigation 229 guns were seized, including three machine guns. Agents also seized military grade explosives, grenades, a silencer and tear gas pen guns. The indictment seeks to forfeit these items to the government.
“This indictment should send a very clear message. The illegal selling and trafficking of firearms will not be tolerated on any level,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelvin Crenshaw. “ATF will continue to actively investigate and pursue those who feed the illegal supply of guns that impact our streets, threaten innocent lives and endanger our communities.”
During the long-term investigation, undercover ATF agents made a series of purchases at gun shows throughout Western Washington. The investigation revealed that some sellers at gun shows were dealing large quantities of guns for profit. While private collectors are allowed to sell guns from their personal collection without becoming a licensed dealer, these sales did not comport with the requirements for private collection sales. In the instances described in the indictment and other court documents, the guns were held by the seller for a very brief period of time – days or weeks – and then were sold at gun shows. The guns never became part of any “collection.” By claiming they were only participating in “private party” sales, these sellers avoided filing paperwork related to the gun sales. In many instances the sellers spoke openly about their efforts to circumvent federal law.
DEVENNY was arrested in November 2010, after selling a firearm to a convicted felon. In recorded conversations, DEVENNY admitted to undercover law enforcement officers that he had been notified by Seattle Police that a gun previously owned by him was used to murder Officer Timothy Brenton on October 31, 2009. DEVENNY stated he remembered selling the gun at a gun show in Puyallup, but did not recall who purchased it. Investigators believe the gun was sold one week before Officer Brenton was killed. The shooter, Christopher Monfort, goes on trial for aggravated murder this year.
The defendants have been summoned to appear for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on May 9, 2011.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.