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Las Vegas Straw Purchaser Of Guns Gets Nearly 2 Years For Handoff To St. Thomian

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — A Nevada man who straw purchased guns — including a machine gun and a Glock — was given nearly two years in prison by a federal judge in St. Thomas, authorities said.

Michael Kelly, 30, of Las Vegas, was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment followed by a three-year term of supervised release for assisting in trafficking firearms in interstate commerce, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

According to court documents, on April 16, 2016, Kelly purchased two firearms, a Romarm/Century Arms Draco caliber 7.62x39mm and a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W, from a firearms dealer in Las Vegas. While purchasing the firearms, Kelly completed ATF Form 4473 for the purchase.

On that form, Kelly stated that he was the actual buyer and was not purchasing the firearms for another person. After purchasing the firearms, Kelly provided the firearms to his co-defendant, Naeem Smith, who paid him $1,200.00 for the purchase.

On April 25, 2016, Kelly purchased two additional firearms, a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W and a Glock Model 22 pistol 40 caliber S&W, from another firearms dealer in Las Vegas and again filled out and signed the ATF Form 4473 for his purchase. In the form, Kelly stated that he was the actual buyer and was not purchasing the firearms for another person.

After purchasing the firearms, Kelly provided the firearms to Naeem Smith, who paid him another $1,800.00 for the purchase.

On April 28, 2016, Naeem Smith traveled to St. Thomas from Las Vegas. At the Cyril E. King Airport, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers inspected Naeem Smith’s checked bag and discovered multiple firearms, including the firearms that defendant Michael Kelly, had purchased for Naeem Smith described previously.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Delia Smith and Juan Albino prosecuted the case.

This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and community leaders to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in a community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.

For more information on the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, please see:
https://www.justice.gov/psn

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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