Canfield Man Charged in Conspiracy of Illegal Distribution of Weapons That Were Resold to Buyers from Mexico
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A federal grand jury has charged Paul A. Groves, 36, of Canfield, Ohio, with conspiring with others to illegally buy and resell military-grade semi-automatic firearms in a superseding indictment returned here yesterday.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Trevor Velinor, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced the indictment.
The superseding indictment alleges that Groves, who operated High Powered Armory in Youngstown, provided false information in the purchase of firearms in order to fraudulently purchase military-grade weapons and resell them to illegal purchasers, who then resold them to Mexican buyers.
Co-defendant Eric L. Grimes, 47, of Columbus, operated Great Machine, LLC in Hilliard.
While High Powered Armory was a federal firearms licensee, Great Machine was not. In January 2015, Groves submitted an application to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to license Great Machine as a secondary location for High Powered Armory.
According to the superseding indictment, individuals in Indiana conspired to fraudulently acquire firearms from licensees for the purpose of transferring those firearms to illegal purchasers in Mexico. Groves allegedly negotiated with members of the Indiana group for the purchases of high-powered rifles that were then sold to buyers from Mexico who paid extremely high, marked-up prices.
For example, on January 28, 2015, Grimes accepted more than $48,000 in cash at Great Machine at the instruction of Groves and on his behalf as payment for the anticipated purchase of rifles. Groves then transferred the weapons to members of the Indiana group at High Powered Armory a few weeks later. The Indiana individuals then drove to McAllen, Texas and re-sold them to buyers from Mexico.
Gun Envy, LLC on Indianola Avenue in Columbus was also used as a meeting location on at least one occasion.
Groves is charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, which is punishable by up to five years in prison, and one count of receipt or possession of an unregistered firearm, which carries a potential maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Grimes pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court Wednesday to engaging in firearms business without a license, a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by ATF, and Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin Kelley and Jessica H. Kim, who are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
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