Man Indicted for Allegedly Straw Purchasing Handguns in Suburban Chicago Store

CHICAGO — A man has been indicted on federal firearm charges for allegedly straw purchasing handguns in a suburban Chicago store on behalf of another individual.

JUSTIN GARCIA purchased a handgun in 2019 and another in 2020 from a licensed firearms dealer in Crete, Ill., and falsely certified on federal forms that he was the actual buyer, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.  In reality, Garcia purchased the guns on behalf of another individual, the charges allege.

Garcia, 24, of Chicago, is charged with two counts of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm.  He pleaded not guilty Tuesday during his arraignment in federal court in Chicago.  A status hearing is set for Sept. 30, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge Franklin U. Valderrama.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Kristen de Tineo, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The Chicago Police Department provided valuable assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan DeMarco.

Each charge in the indictment is punishable by a maximum sentence of ten years in federal prison.  If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

The public is reminded that an indictment is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

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