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Press Release

Former Campus Police Dispatcher Sentenced for Straw Purchase of Glock Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Defendant claimed to be a police officer with authority to arrest and procure Glock firearms

BOSTON – A former campus police dispatcher for the Cape Cod Community College Police Department was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston in connection with making false statements in order to purchase two firearms which can only be purchased by law enforcement officers.

Justin F. Watson, 36, of Mashpee, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to time served (one day in prison), one year of supervised release, with the first four months to be served in home confinement, and 50 hours of community service. The government recommended a sentence of six months in prison. On April 29, 2022, Watson pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements during the purchase of firearms and one count of making false statements in a record.

“Gun laws exist for a reason – to protect lives and reduce violence. Anyone who lies and evades to avoid gun safety laws will be prosecuted,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Lawmakers and law enforcement have put clear limits on who can purchase powerful Glock weapons. These laws are intended to keep dangerous weapons in the hands of fully trained police officers, not circulating on the street.”

“Straw purchasing a firearm is a federal crime with serious consequences,” said James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division. “ATF is committed to working with our local, state, and federal partners to investigate and prosecute the “straw purchasers” in conjunction with the individuals who receive these firearms.”

From March 2018 to February 2019, Watson was an Institutional Security Officer/Campus Police Dispatcher with the Cape Cod Community College Police Department. As such, Watson neither carried a weapon nor had the power to make arrests on campus.

Watson ordered a Glock pistol to be delivered to a firearms dealer on Cape Cod. On Aug. 26, 2018, Watson went to the firearms dealer to pick up the Glock, Model 22, GEN4, .40 caliber pistol. Before receiving the firearm, Watson provided his Cape Cod Community College identification card, which listed him as “Campus Police” and “Faculty/Staff,” to the manager and completed a Public Safety Purchase Form identifying himself as an Institutional Security Officer.

Watson called another firearms dealer and spoke with the store’s operator, who informed him that only law enforcement officers with the power to conduct arrests could purchase Glock Model 26 firearms. Watson falsely stated that he was a police officer with authority to make arrests. On Nov. 17, 2018, Watson went to the firearms dealer with his girlfriend and spoke with a sales manager. His girlfriend told the sales manager that she was Watson’s boss and that Watson had authority to make arrests. Watson identified himself as a police officer to the sales manager and then purchased a Glock, Model 26, GEN4, 9mm pistol for $425. Watson completed a required ATF Form and affirmed that he was the actual buyer of the firearm. The form warned that, “If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”

During the sale, Watson provided his Cape Cod Community College identification card and completed a certification letter indicating that he was purchasing the firearm for “on or off duty use” and not “for resale.” Watson also completed another certification form and listed himself as “Campus Police.” Watson then transferred the Glock Model 26 to his girlfriend on Dec. 19, 2018.

During an interview with law enforcement, Watson acknowledged that he used his Cape Cod Community College identification card when he purchased both Glock firearms. He stated he used that ID because he did not think he could purchase the firearms without it. He also acknowledged that if the firearms dealers had understood that he was not a police officer with arrest powers, they would not have sold him the firearms. Watson further stated that he knew that his girlfriend, a civilian, could not purchase a Glock Model 26 herself and that he purchased the firearm for her.

Straw purchases interfere with firearm regulation and recordkeeping, and federal law makes it a crime to knowingly make false statements to a firearms dealer in connection with the lawfulness of the sale. 

U.S. Attorney Rollins and ATF SAC Ferguson made the announcement today. The Cape Cod Community College Campus Police, Barnstable Police Department and Mashpee Police Department provided assistance with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eugenia M. Carris, Deputy Chief of Rollins’ Public Corruption Unit, and Philip C. Cheng of Rollins’ Organized Crime & Gang Unit prosecuted the case.

Updated August 2, 2022

Firearms Offenses