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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Virgin Islands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 22, 2021

Nevada Resident Sentenced to 21 Months in Federal Prison for Serving as a Straw Purchaser of Firearms Confiscated at the Cyril E. King Airport, St. Thomas

St. Thomas, USVI –United States Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced today that Michael Kelly, 30, a resident of Las Vegas, NV, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment followed by a three-year term of supervised release for assisting in trafficking firearms in interstate commerce.

According to court documents, on April 16, 2016, Kelly purchased two firearms, a Romarm/Century Arms Draco caliber 7.62x39mm and a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W, from a firearms dealer in Las Vegas, NV. While purchasing the firearms, Kelly completed ATF Form 4473 for the purchase. On that form, the defendant stated that he was the actual buyer and was not purchasing the firearms for another person. After purchasing the firearms, Kelly provided the firearms to his co-defendant, Naeem Smith, who paid the defendant $1,200.00 for the purchase.

On April 25, 2016, Kelly purchased two additional firearms, a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W and a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W, from another firearms dealer in Las Vegas, NV and again filled out and signed the ATF Form 4473 for his purchase. In the form, Kelly stated that he was the actual buyer and was not purchasing the firearms for another person. After purchasing the firearms, Kelly provided the firearms to Naeem Smith, who paid the defendant another $1,800.00 for the purchase.

On April 28, 2016, Naeem Smith traveled to St. Thomas, V.I. from Las Vegas, NV. At the Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas, V.I., Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers inspected Naeem Smith’s checked bag and discovered multiple firearms, including the firearms that defendant Michael Kelly, had purchased for Naeem Smith described previously.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Delia Smith and Juan Albino prosecuted the case.

This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law
enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. For more information on the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, please see: https://www.justice.gov/psn.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Updated November 23, 2021