Eleven Tuscaloosa County residents have been indicted on charges in relation to straw purchasing firearms from Tuscaloosa stores.

The announcement was made Monday morning by U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Explosives, and Firearms (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Mickey French.

Straw purchasing refers to the process where an individual knowingly buys a gun on behalf of another person who can't legally purchase or possess a firearm.

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According to court documents filed in U.S. District court, multiple handguns were straw-purchased from licensed firearm dealers within Tuscaloosa County between September and December of 2020.

This is the latest string of charges that comes as a result of a months-long investigation into straw purchases, including the 42 handguns seized earlier this year, where one was linked to the murder of a 17-year-old girl in Boston.

The following Tuscaloosa County residents have al been charged in relation to the straw purchases:

  • Adrian Benito Carter, 26, of Tuscaloosa, is charged in 13 counts with offenses of being a felon possession of a firearm, engaging in the business of selling firearms without a license, making a false statement for federal firearm licensee records, and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.
  • Chasitychampayle La’Shay Bell, 23, of Tuscaloosa, and April Nicole Knox, 30, of Tuscaloosa, are charged with making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.
  • Rikela Denise Chandler, 23, of Tuscaloosa, and Laquetta Venea Hall, 40, of Tuscaloosa, are charged with making a false statement for federal firearm licensee records.
  • Timothy Neal Coleman, 28, of Tuscaloosa, and Aaron Tyrone Taylor, 23, of Tuscaloosa,  are charged with making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.
  • Christopher Jermaine Dean, 33, of Cottondale, Tyler Allen Neal, 23, of Tuscaloosa, and La’darrius Deshon Whitehead, 25, of Tuscaloosa, are charged with making a false statement for federal firearm licensee records and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.
  • Darron Deshone Taylor, Jr, 25, of Tuscaloosa, is charged with being a felon possession of a firearm and making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.

This is part of ATF’s campaign "Don’t Lie for the Other Guy," a component of the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) which is aimed at reducing firearm straw purchases and reducing violent crime.

Those charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and giving a false statement during the purchase of a firearm can face a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

Those charged with engaging in the business of selling firearms without a license and making a false statement for federal firearm licensee records can face a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

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