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Press Release

Man Sentenced to Prison for Selling Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond man was sentenced today to five years in prison for selling firearms to a resident of another state.

“Trafficking firearms poses a real danger to the safety of our communities,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern of Virginia. “We will continue to prosecute these types of cases and take illegally sold guns off of our streets and out of the hands of potential criminals.”

According to court documents, Brian Samuels, 21, sold 39 firearms to an undercover agent over the course of approximately four months in 2018. Prior to making controlled purchases of the firearms from Samuels, law enforcement learned that Samuels was searching for a new buyer for his firearms after his original buyer was arrested. As a result, law enforcement introduced an undercover agent to make purchases from Samuels from August through January 2019.

Over the course of those four months, Samuels recruited straw purchasers to acquire firearms he would sell to the undercover agent. He also would seek assistance from others to help complete the sales to the undercover agent by delivering the firearms. These firearms included multiple AK pistols, AR pistols, extended magazines with 30-60 round capacities, and stolen firearms. In February, ATF and other assisting law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at Samuels’s home and located an additional 14 firearms, bringing the total to 53. As a part of the criminal sentencing, Samuels forfeited all 53 firearms to the United States.   

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen E. Anthony and Janet Jin Ah Lee  prosecuted 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. 3:19-cr-34.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Communications

Updated June 24, 2019