The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that a Vermont resident has been indicted by a Burlington grand jury for her role straw-purchasing a firearm. Marissa Byrd, age 29, of Burlington was arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin J. Doyle on an indictment charging her with providing false information to a federally licensed firearm dealer while purchasing a firearm in March of 2021. At the conclusion of the arraignment today, Byrd was released on conditions of supervision pending further proceedings.
The indictment alleges that on March 20, 2021, Byrd falsely informed a firearms dealer, Parro’s Gun Shop in Waterbury, that she was purchasing a 9-millimeter firearm for herself when she was actually purchasing the firearm for another person. This kind of illegal firearm transaction is commonly known as a “straw purchase.” The firearm Byrd purchased in March 2021 was seized by law enforcement seventeen days later during a search of the home of Thomas Caves in Plattsburgh, New York. At the time of the search, Caves was on parole and being supervised by the State of New York for a 2020 felony burglary conviction in Connecticut. Caves is currently charged by a federal criminal complaint in the Northern District of New York for possessing the firearm after having been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
The charge in the indictment brought against Byrd is an accusation only, and she is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in further proceedings. If convicted of the crime of making a false statement to a licensed dealer of firearms during the purchase of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6), Byrd would face a maximum possible penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence, however, would be determined by the Court with guidance from the advisory Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan A. Ophardt commended the coordinated investigatory efforts of Homeland Security Investigations in both the District of Vermont and the Northern District of New York and the Plattsburgh Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. More information about the program can be found at https://www.justice.gov/psn.
The United States is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Lasher. Marissa Byrd is represented by David Kirby, Esq.
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