PHOENIX, Ariz. – On August 3, a federal grand jury in Phoenix returned a 65-count indictment against Chris Oliver, 23, of Gilbert, Arizona, Michael Kelly, 23, of Tempe, Arizona, and Dion Delpino, 23, of Gilbert, Arizona, for conspiracy to make false statements in acquisition of firearms and 63 instances of making a false statement during the purchase of firearms. In addition, the indictment charges Oliver with dealing firearms without a license.
The indictment alleges that Oliver, Kelly, and Delpino conspired to purchase firearms from licensed dealers by means of false statements and representations. It also alleges that, on 63 occasions between September 2019 and November 2020, Oliver, Kelly, and Delpino used false statements to successfully purchase 102 firearms from 14 licensed dealers throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area. Oliver then sold these firearms to persons known and unknown in Arizona and elsewhere.
“Evidence shows that illegally-trafficked firearms go hand-in-hand with violent criminal acts,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Glenn McCormick. “The District of Arizona remains steadfast in its commitment to work with law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute those who fuel dangerous offenses by violating federal firearms laws.”
On July 22, the Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country. Leveraging existing resources, the regional strike forces are working to stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, like Phoenix, into five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region and Washington, D.C.
“The District of Arizona’s indictment is an important example of the partnership across jurisdictions to identify and prosecute the sources of illegally trafficked firearms,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California. “As part of the new firearms trafficking strike force for the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region, the Eastern District of California commends the District of Arizona for its important work in holding traffickers accountable.”
“I wish to commend the efforts of our agents and the United States Attorney’s Office as these indictments exhibit our collective efforts in combating firearms trafficking. Together, with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to focus on these criminals that promote gun violence in our community,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge, Gabriel Pinon.
Convictions for conspiracy, false statement during the purchase of a firearm, and dealing firearms without a license, are each punishable by a maximum fine of $250,000, a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, or both, and a term of supervised release of three years.
An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, and Scottsdale Police Departments, as well as Homeland Security Investigations and Phoenix Police Department – Commercial Narcotics Interdiction Unit, is conducting the investigation in this case. Coleen Schoch, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix, is handling the prosecution.
CASE NUMBER: CR 21-00600-DLR (DMF)
RELEASE NUMBER: 2021-049_Oliver
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For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/az/
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