Indictment Alleges Stratford Man Illegally Purchased Firearms at Newington Gun Store
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Mickey D. Leadingham, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Boston Field Division, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging TYMON PETERSON, 28, of Stratford, with conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the purchase of firearms, and narcotics trafficking offenses.
The indictment was returned on March 14, 2018. PETERSON appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah A. L. Merriam in New Haven and pleaded not guilty to the charges.
As alleged in the indictment and court documents, in August and September 2017, PETERSON and another individual, who is a convicted felon and prohibited from possessing a firearm, texted one another about purchasing firearms. On September 22, PETERSON and the other individual travelled together to Hoffman’s Gun Center in Newington to purchase firearms. At the store, the other individual provided PETERSON with cash to purchase two firearms on his behalf. On that date, PETERSON filled out an ATF Form 4473 in which he falsely represented that he was the actual purchaser of the two firearms and that he was not acquiring the firearms for another person.
It is further alleged that PETERSON and the other individual returned to Hoffman’s Gun Center on September 23 and attempted to purchase a firearm. Because the clerk was concerned that the sale of the firearm to PETERSON might be illegal, he declined to sell it to PETERSON. Hoffman’s contacted ATF the next day.
The indictment also alleges that, in March and May 2017, PETERSON used his cellphone to communicate about the distribution of cocaine, fentanyl and ketamine.
PETERSON was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on January 1, 2018. He is released on a $100,000 bond.
The indictment charges PETERSON with one count of conspiracy, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years; one count of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, and four counts of using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of four years on each count.
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which it is the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police and the Newington Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony E. Kaplan.