BUFFALO, N.Y.B U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Juan Lopez, 31, of Buffalo, NY, who was convicted of possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking activities and being a felon in possession of firearms, was sentenced to 108 months by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Catherine Baumgarten, who handled the case, stated that in 2008, the defendant began utilizing Pennsylvania residents as straw purchasers to buy firearms in exchange for money and cocaine. These firearms were then brought to Buffalo for the purpose of drug trafficking. Lopez was a convicted felon at the time and unable to legally purchase firearms in New York.
“It is imperative that these types of criminals are prosecuted and brought to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “Some of the guns involved in this case were brought into our community and used in the commission of violent crimes. Whether you are the criminal filling our streets with illegal weapons or the person who assists the criminal in obtaining a gun, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Lopez, who is currently serving 25 years in New York State prison for two previous attempted murder convictions, was arrested in September 2012 along with seven other defendants. Robert Johnson, Amie Hollingsworth, Misty Mihalko, Robert Reed, Brett Abrams, Jaqueline Runyan, and Trisha Amidon were all convicted and sentenced for their role in this case.
The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation by Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge James S. Higgins, New York Field Division.