Eleven Tuscaloosa County residents charged in 'straw purchase' of firearms

Alcohol, Tobacco andFirearms Special Agent In Charge Ashley Lightner speaks at Tuscaloosa Police Headquarters Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, as local and federal officials announce the results of an operation to remove illegally purchased firearms from the streets. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

A grand jury has indicted 11 Tuscaloosa County residents on charges involving the purchase of firearms on behalf of people who cannot legally own one, according to a Monday news release from U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona of the Northern District of Alabama.

According to the 14-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, “straw purchasers” bought multiple handguns from licensed firearms dealers in Tuscaloosa County between September 2020 and December 2020.

A “straw purchaser” is someone who legally purchases a gun with the intent of providing the weapon to a convicted felon or other resident who is barred by law from possessing a firearm.

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Ten of the people who were indicted list the city of Tuscaloosa as their residence, while the other person is from Cottondale.

The charges in the indictment include being a felon in possession of a firearm, giving a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, engaging in the business of selling firearms without a license and making a false statement for federal firearm licensee records, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The maximum penalty on these charges range from five to 10 years in prison upon conviction.

Among those named in the indictment were:

• Adrian Benito Carter, 26, of Tuscaloosa is charged with 13 counts of being a felon possession of a firearm, engaging in the business of selling firearms without a license, making a false statement for federal firearm licensee records and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

• Darron Deshone Taylor Jr, 25, of Tuscaloosa is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

The others were charged with making false statements while buying weapons.

According to the Associated Press, an arraignment hearing was scheduled for Dec. 9 in Birmingham.

Special Agent in Charge Mickey French of the ATF also announced the indictments. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittney Plyler will handle the prosecution.

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A Tuscaloosa Police Department spokeswoman said the indictments were connected with a Nov. 8 news conference that announced 21 suspects had been arrested or were charged in connection with the straw purchases of firearms. Officials with TPD, ATF and the U.S. Attorney's Office participated in that news conference

According to the news release, this case is part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods program aimed at reducing violent crime. Part of the program is the ATF's campaign, “Don't Lie for the Other Guy,” which is aimed at reducing straw purchases and educating potential straw purchasers about the penalties of knowingly participating in an illegal firearm purchase.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Eleven Tuscaloosa County residents charged in 'straw purchase' of guns

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