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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Topeka Man Indicted on Federal Firearms Charge



TOPEKA, KAN. – A Topeka man was indicted Wednesday on a federal charge of conspiring to buy firearms and unlawfully transfer them to a buyer in another state, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said.

Donald Gene Garst, 52, who is in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons, is charged with one count of conspiring to unlawfully transfer firearms. The indictment alleges that on Aug. 16, 2013, Garst was referring to firearms when he told an unindicted co-conspirator that there was a lot of money to be made in “women’s shoes” and that they should acquire all the “women’s shoes” they could.

On Sept. 13, 2013, another unindicted co-conspirator rented space at Quality Storage Facility, 426 E. 6th in Holton, Kan. The next day, she took out a loan of $1,500 and purchased a Cobra Model FS380 pistol and a New Frontier Armory Model LW-15 rifle. She put them in a suitcase belonging to Garst for delivery to the storage facility. She gave Garst the combination to the storage locker so that he could pass it on to a person from another state who would retrieve the firearms and leave $2,800 in an envelope marked “Barney” to pay for the firearms. On Sept. 19, 2013, the purchaser entered the storage locker and retrieved the firearms.

If convicted, Garst faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Maag is prosecuting.

OTHER INDICTMENTS

Six Kansas City, Kan., men are charged in a superseding indictment with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and other counts. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Jan. 1, 2014, to Sept. 5, 2014, in Kansas City, Kan.

Among those charged are the following:

    Jesus Octavio Valdez-Acguirre, Kansas City, Kan.
    Mario Saucedo-Avalos, 39, Kansas City, Kan.
    Jessie Joe Silva, 38, Kansas City, Kan.
    Roberto Lara-Mojica, 20, Kansas City, Kan.
    Ramon Espinoza, 68, Kansas City, Kan.
    Juan Manuel Lopez-Garcia, Kansas City, Kan., 25, Kansas City, Kan.

The indictment seeks a forfeiture money judgment of $148,000, representing the proceeds of the crimes.

Upon conviction, the crimes alleged in the indictment carry the following penalties:

    Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine: Not less than 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $10 million.
    Distributing methamphetamine: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.
    Distributing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine: Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million on each count.
    Unlawful possession of a firearm by an alien unlawfully in the United States: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri McCracken is prosecuting.

Six Kansas men are charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and other counts. The crimes are alleged to have occurred from October 2013 to Sept. 5, 2014, in Wyandotte County, Kan.

Among those charged are the following:

    Vicencio Olea-Monarez, 36, Kansas City, Kan.
    Gabriel Agustin Lopez, 28.
    Rosalio Chinchilla, 44, Kansas City, Kan.,
    Jose Luis Silva-Cardona, 24, Kansas City, Mo.
    Joshua Thomas Alvarez, 25, Kansas City, Kan.
    Lee Thomas Faulkner, 40, Topeka, Kan.

The indictment alleges members of the conspiracy maintained residences at 719 Lyons Ave. in Kansas City, Kan., and 1201 Gilmore Ave. in Kansas City, Kan., in furtherance of drug trafficking.

Upon conviction, the crimes alleged in the indictment carry the following penalties:

    Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute 1,000 marijuana plants, distributing methamphetamine, attempt to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine: Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million on each count.
    Possession with intent to distribute cocaine: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.
    Maintaining a residence in furtherance of drug trafficking: A maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $500,000.
    Possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000.
    Unlawful possession of a firearm following a felony conviction: A maximum penalty of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.

The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Zabel is prosecuting.

Juan Lopez-Morales, 40, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported. He was found July 6, 2014, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Enforcement Removal Operations investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.

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