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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 27, 2022

Two Rutland Men Charged with Straw Purchase of a Firearm

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Jaansher Gondal, who is 20 years old, and Leslie Harold Taylor, Jr., who is 44 years old, were arrested on Friday, June 24, 2022 for their roles in straw purchasing a firearm from a Rutland area firearms dealer. The two Rutland men appeared in federal court today before U.S Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle and were temporarily detained pending detention hearings later this week. 

According to documents in the case, on June 22, 2022, Gondal arranged for Taylor to purchase a handgun from a federal firearms dealer. Taylor asserted on an ATF background check form that the Glock handgun was for him when, in fact, it was for Gondal. At the time of the purchase, Gondal was aware he could not legally purchase a handgun because he was under 21 years old and requested Taylor’s assistance in obtaining the handgun in exchange for cash.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office notes that the charges against the defendants are accusations only and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. If convicted, both men face up to 10 years of imprisonment.  Any sentence in the case will be advised by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugenia Cowles is the prosecutor. The Office of the Federal Public Defender represents Gondal and Kevin M. Henry, Esq. represents Taylor. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office credited the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its work in addressing this illicit gun transaction. This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. Please visit https://www.justice.gov/psn for more information.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
Updated June 27, 2022