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Daily Court Reporter - Ohio-to-Canada gun smuggling ringleader sentenced to prison


Ohio-to-Canada gun smuggling ringleader sentenced to prison

A New York man was sentenced here in U.S. District Court to 36 months in prison and fined $30,000 for conspiring to illegally purchase firearms.

Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Jonathan McPherson, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), announced the sentence handed down by Chief U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.

Jerome Watkins Jr., 33, of Niagara Falls, was one of four individuals charged in an Ohio-to-Canada gun smuggling conspiracy in August 2018.

Jeremy Hearn, 40, and Marcedes Green, 28, both of Columbus, and Kristina DeLorenzo, 31, of Lewiston, N.Y., were also charged by a federal grand jury in Columbus.

According to court documents, from at least January 2018 until April 2018, they served as either straw purchasers, couriers or resellers of firearms purchased in Columbus and eventually resold in Canada.

Hearn would purchase the firearms from various federally-licensed firearms dealers in Central Ohio by providing false information on ATF Form 4473. He traveled to at least 12 different federal firearms licensee stores in Central Ohio.

Hearn purchased at least 32 firearms and Green, with money provided by Hearn, assisted in the purchase of at least six of the firearms.

Hearn, Watkins and DeLorenzo then acted as couriers or assisted in courier duties, regularly traveling between Columbus and Niagara Falls and/or across the Canadian border for resale.

U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by ATF, and the assistance of the ATF field office in Buffalo, New York, the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Northern District of Ohio and the Western District of New York, and L.E.P.D. Firearms and Range in Columbus, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys S. Courter Shimeall and Kevin W. Kelley, who are prosecuting the case.

About the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Ohio

Our mission is to protect and serve the citizens of the Southern District of Ohio through the ethical, vigorous and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, and in so doing to defend the national security, improve the safety and quality of life in our communities, protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States, maintain a courteous and professional working environment, and, with skill and integrity, seek to do justice in every matter

We are the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, one of 94 United States Attorney’s Offices in the country. We are a part of the Department of Justice. Our District is comprised of 48 counties in the southern half of the state.

We represent the interests of the United States, both criminal and civil, in federal court. It is our responsibility to enforce federal criminal laws. We work to prevent terrorism and promote the nation’s security. We are committed to preventing crime, enforcing federal laws, and representing the rights and interests of the American people. We strive to ensure the fair and efficient administration of justice for all Americans.

We prosecute those individuals and organizations that violate federal criminal statutes. We work with a multitude of federal, state, and local agencies, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Park Service, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the U.S. Secret Service, The Ohio Highway Patrol, and multitude of local law enforcement agencies. We prosecute a wide-variety of offenses including domestic and foreign terrorism; child pornography and exploitation; civil rights violations; bank robbery and other violent crimes; firearms offenses; drug trafficking; health care fraud; immigration violations; public corruption; tax evasion; mail, bank and wire fraud; environmental offenses; and identity theft.

We also represent the United States in civil litigation, affirmative and defensive. As such, we sue individuals or entities who have violated federal civil laws. We also defend the interests of the United States when it, or one of its departments, agencies, or employees is sued, and we defend federal programs and agency actions.

We collect monies owed to the United States from forfeiture, restitution, and fines imposed as a part of the judgment in federal cases. We also pursue collection of civil debts owed to the United States, including student, small business, housing, and farm loans. Finally, we represent the interests of federal agencies in bankruptcy court.

Our district covers the bottom half of the state of Ohio.

Our district contains three staffed offices in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton. The Columbus office is the headquarters of our District and is the largest, followed by Cincinnati then Dayton.

Date Published: Friday October 18, 2019


The United States Attorneys Office Southern District of Ohio


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