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Press Release

Renton, Washington, woman pleads guilty admitting she was ‘straw buyer’ for scheme that trafficked guns to violent street gangs

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Purchased multiple guns that she provided to her son who sold them to gang members

Seattle – A 41-year-old Renton, Washington, woman pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to three federal felonies related to a scheme to purchase firearms and illegally provide them to other people, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran.  SHANNON McCALL pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Gun Control Act, making a false statement to a government agent, and making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm.  Sentencing before U.S. District Judge James L. Robart is scheduled for December 7, 2020.

According to records filed in the case, between August 2017 and January 2019, McCALL admitted that she illegally purchased six firearms from Ben’s Loan Inc., a federally licensed firearm dealer in Renton.  On purchase paperwork, McCALL lied and said she was the ultimate purchaser of the firearms, when in fact she purchased the firearms for others.  Both McCALL and her son were involved in the scheme.  In court filings in his case, prosecutors note that her son modified some of the firearms to be automatic weapons and provided firearms to members of violent street gangs, one of whom had just been released from prison.  McCALL told investigators that she did not know how the firearms were used after she purchased them for her son.  McCALL purchased a firearm for another person, in her name, in exchange for a $200.00 payment.

When McCALL was questioned by agents about her firearms purchases, she initially lied and said the guns were being stored by “Uncle James”–a person she now admits does not exist. 

Conspiracy to violate the Gun Control Act and making a false statement to a government agent are each punishable by up to five years in prison.  Making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm is punishable by up to ten years in prison.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence and enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes.  Project Guardian ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  More information about Project Guardian is here.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Manca.


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated September 14, 2020

Project Guardian