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United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia

05/16/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/16/2019 12:19

Firearms Trafficker Pleads Guilty to False Statements

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - A Maryland man pleaded guilty today to making false statements to acquire firearms.

'The trafficking of illegally obtained firearms creates tremendous risk for violence and presents a serious danger to our communities and the law enforcement officers who keep us safe,' said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. 'We will continue our constantly expanding partnership with the ATF to use federal firearms laws to hold individuals accountable for their role in trafficking illegally purchased firearms. The ATF in the Eastern District of Virginia is living up to its self-imposed motto of being no better partner.'

According to court documents, between September 2017 and March 2019, Christian Malik White, 22, purchased 40 firearms from federal firearms licensees in the Eastern District of Virginia using a false address in Gainesville. After purchasing the firearms, White trafficked the firearms across state lines to Maryland and Washington, D.C., where he re-sold the firearms to other individuals. One of these individuals was a convicted felon, who possessed the firearm in Washington, D.C. with an obliterated serial number. White instructed his customers to obliterate the serial numbers on the firearms he sold to them.

'Gun traffickers commit a worse crime than the illegal purchase, sale and transportation of firearms,' said Special Agent in Charge Ashan M. Benedict, ATF Washington Field Division. 'As demonstrated by this case, these criminals provide a pathway for prohibited persons to obtain potentially deadly weapons for their own selfish profit and thereby put at risk the safety of all law abiding citizens and their families.'

White pleaded guilty to making false statements to acquire firearms and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on August 2. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is 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.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas U. Murphy II and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Olinghouse are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-157.