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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Two Defendants Plead Guilty to Illegally Straw Purchasing Multiple Firearms

62 firearms were illegally purchased in May 2021 alone

MINNEAPOLIS – Two defendants have pleaded guilty to making false statements in connection with the illegal purchase of multiple firearms, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats.

According to their guilty pleas, between May 2020 and May 2021, Sarah Jean Elwood, 34, and Jeffrey Paul Jackson, 31, conspired together and with others to buy dozens of firearms from various Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL) in the State of Minnesota. As part of the straw-purchasing scheme, Elwood and others would go to various FFLs, and she would purchase the firearms on behalf of others who requested the firearms in advance of the purchases. In making the purchases, Elwood knowingly misrepresented to the dealers that she was the actual purchaser of the firearms, when in fact she and her co-defendants knew she was not. Jackson helped arrange the deals with his co-defendants and others, which included a $100 premium for each straw-purchased gun, and obtained cash or other items of value upfront for the firearms. In total, the defendants straw purchased approximately 97 firearms, including approximately 62 firearms in May 2021 alone. To date, approximately 17 firearms have been recovered by local law enforcement at various crime scenes and/or in the possession of persons legally prohibited from possessing firearms.

During recent court hearings, Elwood and Jackson each admitted to their roles in the conspiracy and pleaded guilty before United States District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery to one count each of aiding and abetting false statements in connection with the purchase of firearms. Co-conspirator Geryiell Lamont Walker, 22, has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy and making false statements in connection with the purchase of firearms.

Straw purchasing typically involves a buyer who can lawfully purchase firearms from an FFL 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.

This case was made possible by investigative leads generated from the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. NIBIN is a proven investigative and intelligence tool that can link firearms from multiple crime scenes, allowing law enforcement to quickly disrupt shooting cycles. For more information on NIBIN, visit https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-network-nibin.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the ATF and the Blaine Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Bejar is prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated December 29, 2021