A Connecticut man was charged and agreed to plead guilty to a variety of charges in connection with stealing 17 firearms from a Western Mass gun shop and making false statements to federal agents.
Christian Castro, age 31, of New Britain, Connecticut, was charged and agreed to plead guilty on Tuesday, May 4, for the thefts from a West Springfield, Massachusetts gunshop, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell.
In September 2020, Castro was charged with a criminal complaint with co-defendant Fernando Rivera, who is scheduled to plead guilty on Wednesday, May 5.
According to the charging documents, Castro was a felon on state probation for two prior convictions in Connecticut for larceny and possessing narcotics with intent to distribute.
Shortly after midnight on or about Saturday, Aug. 29, Castro and Rivera engaged in a crime spree in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts that included seven ATM thefts and culminated in the theft of 17 firearms from a federal firearms licensee in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
On Friday, Sept. 18, federal agents arrested Rivera and Castro at their homes in Connecticut.
During interviews with investigators, Castro admitted that he drove to and from several ATM robberies and the gun store robbery, but falsely stated he never received, kept, or even touched any of the stolen guns, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
During a search of Rivera’s phone investigators identified several photographs and videos depicting Rivera (and Castro in one instance) with many of the stolen firearms.
A forensic extraction of the defendants’ phones allegedly revealed communications indicating that on Friday, Sept. 4, Rivera discovered that he was a suspect in the thefts and then traveled with Castro to New York to sell at least three of the firearms.
Castro has agreed to plead guilty to:
- Theft of firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee
- Being a felon in possession of firearm
- Interstate transportation of a stolen firearm
- Receipt, possession, concealment, storage, barter, sale, or disposition of a stolen firearm in interstate commerce
- Making false statements to a federal official.
A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled by the court.
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