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Monday, September 29, 2014

Washington, D.C., Felon Sentenced for Using Straw Purchaser to Illegally Acquire Firearms



Arrested After Ramming Law Enforcement Vehicles Following High Speed Chase with Police

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Othaniel D. Gaither, 25, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced today to 78 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release, for acquiring an assault rifle and semi-automatic pistol, attempting to evade police during a high speed chase and ramming two law enforcement vehicles.

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Charles E. Smith, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

Gaither pleaded guilty on July 8, 2014, to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  According to court documents, Gaither, who was previously convicted of robbery with a dangerous weapon, utilized a female acquaintance to fraudulently acquire (straw purchase) two firearms from a federal firearms dealer in Northern Virginia.  Gaither provided his female companion with over $1,000 which she used to obtain both a semi-automatic AK-47 style rifle and a semi-automatic pistol on his behalf.  Following the purchase, Gaither took possession of both firearms.

Gaither, despite being a felon, independently purchased over 125 rounds of ammunition as well as a kit that converts a signal flare device into a handgun that fires 12 gauge shotgun shells.  After obtaining the three firearms and ammunition, Gaither, who was being survielled by ATF agents, attempted to evade arrest by traveling at a high rate of speed through a densely populated area. He was ultimately stopped by ATF agents near the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia.  Upon being pulled over, Gaither first attempted to drive away, when that proved fruitless he intentionally rammed two law enforcement vehicles, effectively totaling them both.  Following his ramming of the vehicles, Gaither was arrested and the firearms and ammunition were confiscated. As part of his sentence he was required to forfeit the three firearms he illegally acquired and possessed.

This case was investigated by the Falls Church Field Office of the ATF Washington Field Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-234.

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