Five people were charged in an alleged straw-purchasing scheme in which handguns were bought in Michigan and then re-sold in Chicago.
Chicago resident Nathaniel McElroy, 21, allegedly would identify which firearms he wanted and paid Michigan residents Cornelius Battle, 23, and Dalrick Drain, 27, a premium over stores’ prices to purchase the guns in Michigan and then transport them to Chicago, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
The trio — along with Michigan residents Reginald Johnson, 24, and 28-year-old Lashon Moore — were allegedly responsible for at least nine handguns to be purchased in Michigan and taken to Chicago, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
The five men were each charged with one count of conspiracy to willfully deal firearms without a license, to willfully transfer firearms to non-Michigan residents and to knowingly make false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm; and one count of willfully dealing firearms without a license, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The straw-purchasing scheme allegedly violated a federal law requiring people who purchase certain guns from an out-of-state dealer to first have the guns transferred to a dealer in the buyer’s state, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
McElroy was arrested on Aug. 31 and remains held in federal custody pending trial, the U.S. attorney’s office said. His next court date has not been set.
Battle was arrested in Michigan on Sept. 1 and released on home confinement, the U.S. attorney’s office said. He will appear in Chicago at a yet-to-be-determined date for court.
Moore remains in custody in Michigan on an unrelated state charge, the U.S. attorney’s office said. He will be taken to Chicago at a later date.
Arrest warrants have been issued for Drain and Johnson, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. They were not in custody as of Tuesday.