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Press Release

Guns Purchased for Oregon Felon Found in California

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon
11 Firearms Purchased for Felon Boyfriend

PORTLAND, Ore. – Sylis Terrance Thomas, 25, of Salem, Oregon, and Lakisha Berry, 25, also of Salem, Oregon, were sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Anna J. Brown for conspiring to make false statements to two Salem-area gun retailers during the purchase of 11 firearms. Both defendants previously entered guilty pleas and have been out of custody since their arrest on federal charges. Thomas received a sentence of 24 months imprisonment and Berry received a sentence of 12 months imprisonment. Both will serve three years of supervised release following the completion of their prison sentences.

This investigation began when Salem Police notified the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of Thomas’s October 1, 2015 purchase of 9 handguns from The Pawn Shop and two handguns from the Sportsman’s Warehouse, both Federal Firearms Licensees in Salem. ATF Agents subsequently obtained video footage of Berry inside the gun shop with another individual who appeared to be selecting the guns while Berry stood nearby. At the conclusion of both sales, Berry signed federally required sales documents, in which she declared that she was the actual buyer and that the weapons were not purchased on behalf of another. Agents were able to identify the other person as Sylis Terrance Thomas, a convicted felon, prohibited by law from possessing firearms. Agents learned that two weeks after Berry bought the guns, one of the handguns was recovered in Oakland, California, during the course of an investigation into an attempted murder and robbery. Oakland Police did not get any information about the gun except that it was bought on the street for $450.

On October 23, 2015, agents served a federal search warrant at defendant Thomas’s residence. During the search warrant, Thomas told agents that he gave Berry most of the money to buy the guns and that he wanted the firearms for protection. He stated that he was “highly aware” that he was not allowed to purchase or possess firearms, so he asked defendant Berry to buy him the guns. Although Thomas stated that Berry knew he could not have firearms, she agreed to purchase them.

Using the defendant’s cell phone records and other investigative tools, Agents determined that both Berry and Thomas left the Salem area immediately following their purchases, travelling south on I-5 to the Oakland, California, area. Thomas later admitted that he and Berry sold the guns for cash to people he knew in Sacramento.

On November 27, 2015, the California Highway Patrol recovered a Sig Sauer pistol from a driver during a routine traffic stop. That gun had also purchased by Berry. To date, the whereabouts of the other 9 firearms is unknown.

This case was investigated by the Salem Police, and the ATF and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Nyhus.

Updated November 17, 2017