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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, November 8, 2019

Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Purchasing 35 Firearms in Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Forestville, Maryland man pleaded guilty today to making false statements in order to illegally purchase firearms.

“Preventing the illegal purchase and sale of firearms is a top priority,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The defendant played a significant role in the trafficking of dozens of firearms from Virginia to Maryland and Washington, D.C., where they wound up in the hands of a convicted felon and presented a grave danger to our community.”

According to court documents, Juan Zimmerman, 26, used a fraudulently obtained Virginia identification card to purchase 35 firearms from various Federal Firearms Licensees throughout the Eastern District of Virginia between June and August 2018. After purchasing the firearms, Zimmerman transferred the firearms to others, including his cousin, who trafficked the firearms across state lines to Maryland and Washington, D.C. to other individuals. Three of the firearms Zimmerman illegally purchased have been recovered by law enforcement after being used in a number of violent crimes, including at least one homicide and one domestic violence shooting.

Zimmerman pleaded guilty to making false statements with respect to the purchase of firearms and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on February 21, 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.

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 Senior U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Murphy and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Trigger are 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. 1:19-cr-265.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Contact: 
Joshua Stueve Director of Public Affairs joshua.stueve@usdoj.gov
Updated November 8, 2019