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Press Release

Butler County man charged with illegally purchasing firearm used in murder of DEA task force officer

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

DAYTON – A Butler County man has been charged with lying on ATF forms to illegally purchase the firearm used in killing Dayton Police Detective and DEA Task Force Officer Jorge DelRio on Nov. 4 during the execution of a search warrant on Ruskin Road in Dayton.


Delano Wells, 50, of Trenton, was charged by criminal complaint on Nov. 5 with making false statements on a federal firearms form.


According to court documents, three firearms were recovered from the scene on Ruskin Road on Nov. 4: two pistols with extended magazines and an AR-style weapon.


ATF was called to assist with tracing the three firearms and an urgent trace was requested for all three firearms recovered in the shooting.


It is alleged Wells purchased all three firearms. ATF traced one alleged pistol purchase to Aug. 29, just 67 days prior to the shooting, and another alleged pistol purchase to Sept. 9, only 57 days prior.


Records indicate Wells purchased at least six other firearms in August and September.


According to the affidavit, Wells told ATF agents he purchased the weapons in Middletown for a friend. Wells allegedly received cash for the cost of the firearms with an additional profit of $25 to $30 per firearm.


Wells allegedly lied on ATF Form 4473 for each purchase he made, by indicating “yes” he was purchasing the firearm for himself and not for anyone else. In reality, it is alleged he purchased the firearms to sell to his friend.


“The message we want to make loud and clear is that if you provide firearms to drug dealers and convicted felons you will be held responsible for their actions,” said U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers. “There are significant sentencing enhancements for firearms provided by straw purchasers used to commit crimes and we will seek those enhancements to the fullest.” 


Wells made his initial appearance on Nov, 6.  No additional court dates are currently set. This investigation remains ongoing.


DeVillers; Jonathan McPherson, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Dayton Police Chief Richard S. Biehl; Keith Martin, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Joseph M. Deters, Acting Special in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; and Montgomery County Prosecutor Mathias H. Heck, Jr. announced the charges. Assistant United States Attorneys Amy M. Smith and Andrew J. Hunt are representing the United States in this case.


A criminal complaint merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.


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Updated November 13, 2019

Firearms Offenses