A pair of Lehigh County men were arrested for their roles in the illegal straw purchases of 29 firearms in an effort to make up for the debt related to one of the man's drug use, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office announced.
James Gleason, 38, of Emmaus, was instructed by Reynold Lewis, 37, of Allentown, to make straw purchases of firearms to pay back debt related to Gleason’s methamphetamine use, Attorney General Josh Shapiro said.
Agents executed a search warrant on Lewis' hotel room and vehicle on May 3, and recovered one handgun, ammunition, firearm parts, and accessories -- including an 80 percent receiver kit used to assemble a ghost gun, and various suspected narcotics including methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and oxycodone pills, Shapiro said.
Ghost guns typically start as “80% receivers,” which can be quickly assembled, lack serial numbers so they cannot be traced, and, once fully assembled, can operate as fully functioning firearms.
Gleason is alleged to have facilitated the 29 illegal purchases of firearms through a straw purchaser from at least seven different firearms dealers in four months, Shapiro said.
Gleason faces charges of 29 counts of Illegal Transfer of Firearms.
Lewis faces 29 counts of Illegal Transfer of Firearms, 29 counts of Unsworn Falsification to Authorities, 29 counts of Tampering With Public Records, 29 counts of Person Not To Possess Firearms, 29 counts of Dealing in Unlawful Proceeds, 30 counts of Firearms Possessed by a Prohibited Person, 29 counts of Corrupt Organizations, one count of Person Not To Possess Firearms, and one count of Possession with Intent to Deliver. All charges are accusations.
The case is being prosecuted by Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office.
This was a joint investigation by the Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Section, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Emmaus Police Department.
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