CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Three men have been indicted by a federal grand jury for illegally buying and selling firearms, a process known as 'straw purchasing.'
Police say Herbert Dragon, 33, illegally bought five handguns and transferred them to Juan Mack, 36, of Cincinnati, for resale.
The indictment alleges that between April 25, 2012 and June 18, 2012, Mack sold 16 firearms for cash during eight separate transactions. Mack does not have a federal firearms license. Mack is also prohibited under federal law from owning or possessing firearms because he has a prior felony conviction.
Mack is charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, punishable by up to ten years in prison, and one count of unlicensed dealing in firearms. That crime is punishable by up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
The indictment charges Dragon with one count of making a false statement during multiple purchases of firearms during this same time period, which is punishable by up to ten years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine and up to three years of supervised release. Mack allegedly used Dragon to buy the handguns from a gun shop in Fairfield. Dragon indicated on the ATF forms he signed when he bought the guns that he was not acquiring the firearms on behalf of any other person.
VCET Task Force officers and the Cincinnati Police Department's Fugitive Unit arrested Mack and Dragon without incident on July 30, 2012.
In a separate indictment, a federal grand jury charged Paul Mitchell, 29, of Cincinnati with illegally selling firearms, distribution of a schedule II controlled substance, to wit: cocaine base, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Mitchell is prohibited under federal law from owning or possessing firearms, because he has a prior felony conviction. The grand jury alleges that Mitchell illegally sold three firearms as well as possessed a firearm in March 2012 during crack cocaine transactions.
Mitchell is charged with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, punishable by up to ten years in prison, one count of unlicensed dealing in firearms punishable by up to five years in prison, and distribution of a schedule II controlled substance punishable five to forty years in prison and a $250,000 fine and five years of supervised release.
On July 30, 2012, Mitchell was arrested by members of the VCET Task Force and the Cincinnati Police Department's Fugitive Unit without incident.
All three men appeared before Magistrate Judge Stephanie K. Bowman on Tuesday, who ordered Mack and Mitchell held without bond pending a detention hearing Thursday. Dragon was released on bond and will be arraigned Thursday.
These cases are the direct result of continuous and ongoing efforts by the Cincinnati Violent Crime Enforcement Team (VCET), a task force of ATF agents, Cincinnati police officers, and a parole officer from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Adult Parole Authority (APA). The VCET Task Force's primary mission is to reduce gun violence in Cincinnati by proactively investigating illegal firearms traffickers.