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Press Release

Montgomery Woman Found Guilty of Lying to a Federal Agent

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama

           Montgomery, Alabama –        On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, Tressa Nile Jones-Arnold, 30, from Montgomery, Alabama, was convicted of making a false statement to a federal agent, announced U.S. Attorney Sandra J. Stewart.

            According to court records and evidence presented at trial, in March of 2020, Jones-Arnold bought a Glock, model 45, 9mm semi-automatic pistol at a pawn shop in Montgomery. As part of that transaction, Jones-Arnold completed an ATF form that required her to verify she was buying the gun for herself. Later, on September 16, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant on the residence of Lonnie Dontae Mitchell, who was in a relationship with Jones-Arnold and had a child with her. Agents were searching for evidence of suspected drug and human trafficking activity. During the search, law enforcement found a Glock 9mm along with a number of items related to the sale of illegal drugs. The 9mm handgun found was the same firearm previously purchased by Jones-Arnold. Mitchell has multiple felony convictions on his record and is prohibited from possessing firearms.

            On October 13, 2020, federal agents interviewed Jones-Arnold. She told them she unintentionally left the gun at Mitchell’s house under the bed the weekend before the search was conducted and the gun was found. However, as early as May 2020, Jones-Arnold had sent text messages to Mitchell referring to the gun. In August, she texted him, “Well you need to get a gun registered to yourself cause I don’t feel comfortable with u having a gun registered to my name,” and “I’ll buy it back from u!”

           Mitchell was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm in July of 2021 and is facing a maximum sentence of ten years in prison. Following yesterday’s conviction, Jones-Arnold is facing up to five years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set for Jones-Arnold. Mitchell’s sentencing is still pending as well.

           “Lying to federal investigators is a serious crime, and so is providing a firearm to a felon,” stated U.S. Attorney Stewart. “Violent crime is on the rise around the country and far too many criminals are using firearms to terrorize their communities. Ms. Jones-Arnold’s actions placed a gun in the hands of an individual who could not purchase one for himself because of his criminal history, then she lied to federal agents to cover for them both. I hope this conviction serves as an important reminder that those who lie to federal investigators or provide guns to felons will face criminal consequences.”

           This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), with assistance from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Montgomery Police Department, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys James P. Lamb and Megan A. Kirkpatrick prosecuted the case.

Updated February 24, 2022

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