GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN —United States Attorney Mark Totten announced today that Jerreil Lamounta Martin has been arrested on charges involving alleged straw purchasing and illegal sale of firearms.
A “straw purchase” is an illegal firearm sale where the actual buyer of the gun, being unable to pass the required federal background check or desiring to not have his or her name associated with the transaction, uses another person who can pass the required background check to purchase the firearm. The indictment alleges that between September and October 2021, Martin straw purchased at least 11 handguns from licensed firearms dealers and falsely certified on federal forms that he was the actual buyer of these guns. In reality, the indictment alleges, Martin purchased those handguns on behalf of other individuals, then transferred them to his customers, collecting a fee for his illegal service. Numerous guns that were allegedly illegally purchased and trafficked by Martin were later used in crimes.
“We face an epidemic of gun violence in Michigan, like other states across the nation,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Totten. He continued: “No person should fear for their lives merely by going for a walk in their neighborhood, but that fear is real for some families. The recent surge in gun violence is driven, in part, by individuals who illegally supply firearms to violent criminals. When you illegally buy a gun for someone else, you could buy yourself 10 years in federal prison. My office will continue to use federal laws to prosecute straw purchasers and hold them accountable for trafficking illegally purchased firearms.”
“Straw purchasing is a serious crime. Straw purchasers put firearms in the hands of felons and trigger-pullers, and they directly enable the violence that follows,” said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Resident Special Agent in Charge Andrew Holt. “Our agents are committed to working with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to stop the flow of guns to individuals who cannot legally purchase them.”
The United States Attorney’s Office and the ATF in the Western District of Michigan are focused on prosecuting those individuals who are putting guns in the hands of dangerous criminals.
This case was investigated by the ATF as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide initiative to reduce violent crime. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutor’s offices, and federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement work closely together to identify and prosecute individuals responsible for driving violent crime in our communities to make neighborhoods safer for everyone. Individuals with information or concerns about violent crime or firearms offenses should contact local law enforcement. For more information about Project Safe Neighborhoods, visit: https://www.justice.gov/psn
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.