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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Sentenced to 2 Years in Federal Prison for Straw Purchases of Multiple Firearms

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

PORTLAND, Maine: A Massachusetts man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Portland for conspiring to violate the federal firearms laws.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen sentenced Malachi Martins, aka “Steve,” 28, to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Martins pleaded guilty on May 26, 2022.

According to court records, from October 2019 through January 2020, Martins purchased at least seven firearms from licensed dealers in Kittery and Gray using a straw purchaser. Martins, a known drug trafficker, paid for the firearms with drug proceeds and paid the coconspirator by forgiving his drug debt. He then distributed the firearms in Massachusetts.

Straw purchasing typically involves a buyer who can lawfully purchase firearms but who then provides them to another person who is legally prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, therefore allowing the prohibited person to illegally obtain firearms and avoid the national background check system. Martins is prohibited from possessing firearms due to two previous convictions.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated the case. 

Project Safe Neighborhoods: 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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results. To learn more information about Project Safe Neighborhood, visit

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Noah Falk
Assistant United States Attorney
Tel: (207) 780-3257

Updated November 16, 2022

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses