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Press Release

Indictment Charging Three Luzerne County Residents For Firearms Straw Purchases, Unlawful Possession Of Firearms And Cocaine Distribution Unsealed

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

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that an indictment returned on March 12, 2013 charging three Luzerne County residents with their alleged roles in a conspiracy to make straw purchases of firearms and other firearms charges, including possession of a machine gun and distribution of cocaine was unsealed Monday following their arrest.

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Jovon Martin, age 31, of Kingston, was charged with conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the purchase of a firearm, prohibited possession of a firearm, possession of a machine gun in furtherance of drug distribution, possession of an illegal weapon (machine gun), possession of an unregistered weapon (machine gun) and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.

     Christine Hanahan, age 30, also of Kingston, was charged with unlawful transfer of a firearm to a prohibited possessor.  John Teslicko, age 50, of Larksville, was charged with conspiracy to make false statements in connection with the purchase of a firearm, false statements in connection with the purchase of a firearm, unlawful transfer of a firearm to a prohibited possessor and prohibited possession of a firearm.  The offenses allegedly occurred between March 2012 and March 2013 in Luzerne County.
The straw purchase of a firearm is the unlawful use by individuals who are unable to purchase a firearm to utilize others who do not have a criminal record to make the purchase in their own name and then transfer the firearm to the prohibited possessor.  The investigation also allegedly uncovered cocaine distribution closely related to the straw purchases.

     Martin, Hanahan and Teslicko were arraigned before Magistrate Judge Thomas Blewitt and Martin was ordered detained pending trial on May 20, 2013.  

     This case was the result of a joint investigation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Kingston Police Department.

     Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Amy C. Phillips.

     Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this particular case, Martin faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years’ imprisonment.

     The maximum penalty under the federal statute for Hanahan and Teslicko is 10 years’ imprisonment.

     All three face a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 17, 2015