INDIANAPOLIS — Two Indy brothers have been convicted of federal felonies for their scheme to illegally sell “straw-purchased” firearms.
28-year-old Jacob Tomlin was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to two counts of making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer. 21-year-old Ryan White was sentenced in January 2023 to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to dealing firearms without a license.
Court documents show during the Summer of 2021 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the source of firearms located at crime scenes in Indianapolis and Chicago. The gun investigations found that weapons from multiple crime scenes were purchased by Tomlin from federally licensed dealers in Indiana.
The ATF investigation revealed that from May 19 to June 8, 2021 Tomlin lied on federal firearms purchase documents to illegally purchase 15 handguns for his brother. White was too young to legally buy guns from a federally licensed dealer.
This form of gun trafficking is frequently referred to as “straw purchasing,” when a person who is allowed to legally purchase a gun from a licensed dealer falsely states they are purchasing a firearm for themselves when they know the intended recipient of the weapon is someone else, often someone who is legally prohibited from making the purchase.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers and Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Columbus Field Division made the announcement.
This investigation demonstrates exactly how straw-purchases of firearms help to fuel gun violence in Indianapolis, Chicago, and elsewhere. Gun traffickers help arm criminals who should never have had access to deadly weapons in the first place, increasing the bloodshed on our streets. Our office is committed to working closely with the ATF to address the sources of crime gun to reduce gun violence—and to hold gun traffickers accountable in federal court.
– Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana
ATF investigated this case. U.S. District Court Judge James R. Sweeny also ordered White be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for two years following his release from prison.
In July 2021 the Department of Justice launched five cross-jurisdictional strike forces to help reduce gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in key regions across the country.
These gun trafficking strike forces are designed to ensure coordination across jurisdictions and help stem the supply of illegally trafficked firearms from source cities, through other communities, and into five key market regions: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area/Sacramento Region and Washington, D.C.