Former Marine private pleads guilty to ‘straw purchase’ gun charges

by Tommy Grant

A 22-year-old former Marine private pleaded guilty in federal court to charges that facilitated the “straw purchase” of six handguns while stationed in North Carolina and then transported them to New York to sell illegally.

Rylan Peterson, of Kingston, New York, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two counts of conspiracy and one count of unlawful transfer of firearms to an out-of-state resident.

A straw purchase is when someone buys firearms for someone else who cannot buy them, for example, if the receiver has been convicted of a federal crime and is prohibited from buying firearms.

He faces sentencing on July 10. Peterson faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Peterson, Oryin McLeod, 23, and Kenneth Mitchell Locke made the gun purchase plan in December 2022.

On Dec. 8, 2022, McLeod, who lived in New York, texted Peterson a list of six firearms he wanted.

He wanted three .380 caliber handguns, a Glock 42 and a Rock Island .38 revolver, and a .22 semiautomatic handgun, according to court documents.

On Dec. 9, 2022, McLeod sent a total of $3,651 via Apple Pay to Peterson. The next day he sent another $3,750 to Peterson via CashApp, according to court documents.

Peterson got Locke, a North Carolina resident, to buy the weapons on Dec. 19, 2022.

Between Dec. 20, 2022, and Dec. 22, 2022, Locke picked up the firearms from the Fuquay Gun & Gold Store in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. Later that month, Peterson transported weapons from North Carolina to New York where he gave them to McLeod and others, according to court documents.

McLeod pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in the firearms purchases in mid-February. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 26, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office release.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

Read the full article here

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