Feds Charge Straw Purchasers in PSN Neighborhood: Gun Used in Homicide
DALLAS – The straw purchasers of a gun used to murder an innocent man appeared in federal court today, charged with making false statements during the acquisition of a firearm, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
According to the Indictment, unsealed following the defendants’ arrest yesterday, sisters Demoushae and Tashonna Marsh purchased two 9-millimeter Glock pistols from Academy Sports + Outdoors, a federally-licensed firearm dealer, on April 16. On their applications, each woman claimed she was the “actual buyer” of the firearm – while allegedly knowing the guns were intended for someone else.
One of the pistols ended up in the hands of a teenage boy.
On April 18 -- just two days after the straw purchase – the juvenile and a co-conspirator attempted to rob a man in the driveway of his Dallas home. Upon hearing the struggle, the victim’s brother, Leonardo Vazquez-Barcenas, came outside to investigate. The juvenile, still struggling with the homeowner, fired a single shot, killing Mr. Vazquez-Barcenas.
“Federal firearm restrictions are designed to keep deadly weapons from being used in street crimes like these,” said Nealy Cox. “This case should send a message to would-be straw purchasers across north Texas: We will bring to justice anyone who attempts to circumvent gun laws in our district.”
The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is handling the homicide case. The straw purchasing case was brought as part of the U.S. Attorney’s “Project Safe Neighborhood” initiative, a strategic effort targeting violent offenders in Dallas’ most dangerous neighborhoods. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation with assistance from the Dallas Police Department; Assistant U.S. Attorney P.J. Meitl is prosecuting the case.
An Indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.