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Franklin man sentenced for straw-purchase of firearms

STAFF REPORT

NORFOLK

A Franklin man was sentenced on Monday, June 10, to almost four years in prison for straw-purchasing several guns for fellow Crip gang members, including felons and others planning to engage in gang-related shootouts. This information comes from Joshua Stueve, director of communications for the Department of Justice – Eastern District of Virginia.

“Straw purchasing firearms is a very serious crime,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Convicted felons have forfeited their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and those who choose to straw purchase firearms will be investigated, prosecuted and held accountable for their dangerous conduct. We will continue to aggressively pursue these cases, seek to obtain felony convictions, and work with local federally licensed firearms dealers and our partners at the ATF to stop the flow of illegally purchased firearms from hitting the street.”

According to court documents, Larry Donnell Parrish III, 24, was the hub of a Franklin-based straw-purchasing conspiracy involving a subset of the Crips violent street gang, the 00 Gang. Parrish, a 00 Gang member with no criminal record, purchased at least seven guns from federally licensed gun stores for other gang members who could not purchase the firearms themselves because they were felons.

“ATF is committed to keeping firearms out of the hands of gang members and those intent on committing violent crimes,” said Ashan Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Washington Field Division. “Firearms trafficking is a serious offense. This investigation highlights ATF’s commitment to protecting the public and keeping our communities safe. If you lie and buy firearms, ATF will work with our law enforcement partners across the region to ensure that you are held accountable for your crimes.”

Parrish also purchased guns for gang members who could legally buy the guns, but did not want to because they planned to commit violent crimes with the guns. Three of the guns Parrish had straw-purchased were later recovered by law enforcement while investigating other crimes, and one of the guns was recovered in Washington, D.C., only 10 days after Parrish had bought the gun.

“This individual illegally obtained firearms to commit further, potentially violent, criminal activity with fellow Crip gang members,” said Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Norfolk. “There’s a reason straw-purchasing is not permitted, and that’s because weapons end up in the hands of dangerous criminals. Thanks to the quick actions of our federal and local partners, we’ve taken a source for violent crime off the streets.”

As a known drug-user, Parrish is prohibited from possessing a gun. After he straw-purchased the guns, police caught him with yet another gun, an extended magazine, and marijuana.

“Participation with our federal partners through task force endeavors such as Project Safe= Neighborhoods has enabled our agency to address numerous concerns,” said Robert Porti, deputy chief of Franklin Police. “Joint investigations such as this, involving Mr. Parrish, have been successful in apprehending and prosecuting criminals as well as those that support and enable criminal operations. We appreciate and look forward to continuing joint investigations aimed at further reducing crime within our city and enhancing the quality of life for our residents.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson prosecuted the case. Making the announcement after after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar were Terwilliger, Porter, Benedict and Lamonea.

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. 2:18-cr-150.