Skip to main content
Press Release

Luzerne County Woman Guilty Of Conspiracy To Unlawfully Purchase Guns

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

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Laquanna Bacote, age 25, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty on July 7, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Malachy E. Mannion to conspiring with others to make false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms from federal-licensed firearm dealers in Luzerne and Northampton Counties between April and October of 2019.

According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Bacote admitted to conspiring with others to purchase 14 guns for another person while falsely claiming to be the actual purchaser of the firearms. Bacote made false statements on federal firearms forms to purchase firearms and unlawfully obtain firearms from H & H Tactical in Exeter, Pennsylvania and NJT Arms in Northampton, Pennsylvania. 

Judge Mannion ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The maximum penalty under federal law is five years’ imprisonment, 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 July 9, 2020

Project Safe Neighborhoods