International Gun-Trafficker Pleads Guilty to Role in Straw Purchase Scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia
NORFOLK, Va. – A New Jersey resident and citizen of the Dominican Republic pleaded guilty today to helping arrange the straw purchase of multiple handguns.
“Straw purchasers are often literally arming criminals,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We will continue to aggressively pursue these cases, seek to obtain felony convictions, and work with local federally licensed firearms dealers and our partners at the ATF to stop the flow of illegally purchased firearms from hitting the street.”
According to information before the court, Greilin Eurinio Santana-Munoz, 31, a carnival worker and convicted felon, used several straw purchasers to obtain at least 25 handguns from federally licensed gun stores in Virginia and Georgia, which he then shipped out of the country to the Dominican Republic. He had an associate straw purchase 10 handguns from Virginia gun stores in Chantilly, Manassas, and Virginia Beach. He was arrested in Georgia after ATF agents watched another straw purchaser buy four handguns at yet another gun store and deliver them to him while he was waiting outside the store in his vehicle.
Santana-Munoz pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting a co-conspirator causing a federally licensed gun store to maintain false records. He faces a maximum of five years in prison when sentenced on Sept. 18, 2020. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
“The intent of straw purchasing firearms is clear - to provide weapons to individuals who cannot possess them legally, generally for the commission of crimes,” said Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Washington Field Division. “This defendant’s plea concludes a multi-state and international investigation into his illegal activities, and we are grateful to the U.S. Attorney and our law enforcement partners for this successful outcome.”
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division; and Colonel Gary T. Settle, Superintendent of Virginia State Police, made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:20-cr-029.
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Updated May 27, 2020