Denver Man Who Offered to Buy Guns For Strangers on YouTube Sentenced to Federal Prison
Defendant purchased an AR-15 style rifle for an undercover agent and two semi-automatic hanguns for a known felon
DENVER – Kenneth Allen Francis, age 29, of Denver Colorado, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez to serve 60 months in federal prison for crimes related to the criminal acquisition or disposal of firearms, Acting United States Attorney Bob Troyer and Special Agent in Charge Ken Croke, of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Denver Division announced today. The defendant, who was present at the sentencing hearing in custody, was remanded at the conclusion of the hearing.
A grand jury returned an indictment on February 10, 2016 charging the defendant with three counts: making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer on January 12, 2016; making a false statement to a different federally licensed firearms dealer on January 22, 2016; and unlawful disposition of a firearm on January 22, 2016. The jury trial before Judge Martinez began on July 11, 2016. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on each of the three counts of the indictment on July 13, 2016. He was sentenced today, November 4, 2016.
According to facts presented during the jury trial, Francis posted a YouTube video in which he stated “I’m here to help you get your guns.” He went on to say that he did not care whether the person he was buying guns for had a history of violent crime or sex crime. Special Agents with the ATF, after watching the video, designed an undercover operation to determine whether the defendant was serious about his offer to buy guns for people. After an undercover agent made contact, the defendant agreed to carry through with his offer, purchasing an AR-15 style rifle for the undercover agent on January 12, 2016. On January 22, 2016 the defendant again carried through on his offer by purchasing two semi-automatic handguns, this time for an ATF confidential informant who the defendant had reasonable cause to believe was a convicted felon and therefore prohibited from purchasing guns. After that purchase, the defendant gave both pistols to the confidential informant.
“We can’t have safe communities if people like this are allowed to put AR-15s and semi-auto pistols into the hands of dangerous people,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. “And we can’t have safe communities without citizens who care alerting law enforcement when they see this kind of behavior. So we thank those citizens, and we thank the ATF for their methodical work to put Francis out of business.” c
“Francis knew he was breaking the law. He didn’t care. And he didn’t care about the lives he would have put at risk by circumventing the law and providing guns to known violent felons, sex offenders and criminals guilty of domestic abuse,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Ken Croke. “Now he is a convicted felon also, prohibited from purchasing firearms, thanks to the engaged citizens who alerted us to his activities, a thorough investigation by ATF agents and diligent prosecution in the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason St. Julien and Bryan D. Fields.