INDIANAPOLIS- Brothers Jacob Tomlin, 28, and Ryan White, 21, of Indianapolis, have both been convicted of federal felony offenses for their scheme to illegally sell straw-purchased firearms. Tomlin was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to two counts of making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer. White was sentenced in January of 2023 to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to dealing firearms without a license.
According to court documents, during the summer of 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the source of firearms that were located at crime scenes in Indianapolis and Chicago. These gun traces investigations multiple crime guns purchased by Tomlin from federally licensed firearms dealers in Indiana.
The ATF’s investigation revealed that from May 19 through June 8, 2021, Tomlin lied on federal firearms purchase documents to illegally purchase 15 handguns for White, his brother. White was too young to legally buy the guns from a federally licensed dealer. This form of gun trafficking is frequently referred to as “straw purchasing,” when a person who is allowed to legally purchase a gun from a federally licensed dealer falsely states that they are purchasing a firearm for themselves, when they know that the gun is actually intended for someone else—frequently someone who is legally prohibited from making the purchase.
ATF agents interviewed Tomlin and White, who admitted that Tomlin lied on the federal forms to illegally purchase the guns for White. White then illegally resold some of the guns for a profit.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers and Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Columbus Field Division made the announcement.
“This investigation demonstrates exactly how straw-purchases of firearms help to fuel gun violence in Indianapolis, Chicago, and elsewhere,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Gun traffickers help arm criminals who should never have had access to deadly weapons in the first place, increasing the bloodshed on our streets. Our office is committed to working closely with the ATF to address the sources of crime gun to reduce gun violence—and to hold gun traffickers accountable in federal court.”
ATF investigated this case. The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge James R. Sweeney. Judge Sweeney also ordered that White be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 2 years following his release from federal prison.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Abhi Kambli and Samantha Spiro, who prosecuted this case.
This case was part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Chicago Gun Trafficking Strike Force. On July 22, 2021, the Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country. These gun trafficking strike forces are designed to ensure coordination across jurisdictions and help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region and Washington, D.C.