United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
CANADIAN SENTENCED TO 70 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ILLEGAL GUN TRAFFICKING AND LYING TO BORDER PROTECTION OFFICERS
Defendant Possessed Dozens of Guns at Ferndale, Washington Storage Facility
OLIVER KING, aka, Hamid Malekpour, 35, of Vancouver, BC was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 70 months in prison and three years of supervised release for five counts related to the trafficking and possession of nearly two dozen firearms. KING was arrested May 19, 2010, after he traveled from British Columbia to McMinnville, Oregon and transporting 21 firearms back to the border region. After a five-day trial in January 2011, the jury found KING guilty of unlawful dealing in firearms, being a non-immigrant alien in possession of firearms, and three counts of making false statements to a government agency. At the sentencing hearing U.S. District Judge James L. Robart highlighted KING’s “pattern of lying,” including some “incredible” testimony KING offered at a pretrial hearing.
According to records in the case and testimony at trial, KING repeatedly lied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers when he crossed over the border into the U.S. from Canada. For example, on May 18, 2010, KING stated he was crossing into the U.S. to pick up his wife at the Target store in Bellingham. Instead KING drove straight to a storefront in McMinnville, Oregon and picked up boxes of firearms and ammunition. KING had used a U.S. citizen to set up a business called McMinnville Hunting and Police Supply. On the morning of May 19, 2010, KING loaded approximately 10 boxes from the business and drove straight back to Ferndale, Washington where he unloaded the boxes of weapons and ammunition into a storage facility. KING had hidden his role in the McMinnville business from regulators. As a non-immigrant alien, he was prohibited from possessing firearms. KING was convicted of providing false information to border officials on three separate occasions. KING’s trips had aroused the interest of law enforcement who tracked his activities on the May 18 visit. He was arrested at the Ferndale storage facility and 21 high-end firearms were seized.
In their sentencing memo prosecutors urged a lengthy sentence saying KING’s actions put the public at serious risk. “Firearms are dangerous and those that Mr. King was convicted of possessing are particularly lethal. The possession, purchase and sale of firearms are highly regulated for this reason. By scheming to obtain, possess and deal in this type of firearms, across international borders, Mr. King’s actions put the public at risk, and a lengthy sentence is necessary to protect the public, in the United States and abroad, from further crimes of the defendant,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.
“This prison sentence brings an end to an investigation that exposed international weapons trafficking and clear violations of federal law. The defendant is no longer in a position to illegally traffic in weapons and needlessly threaten the safety and security of the public,” said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of HSI in Seattle.
“Anytime you illegally traffic weapons into a community – you threaten the very fabric of that community’s safety and security,” said Kelvin Crenshaw, Special Agent in Charge for the Seattle Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “By extracting Oliver King from the community we believe it sends a clear message, both domestic and international, that this type of activity will not be tolerated.”
The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Susan Roe and Matthew Diggs.