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How an engineer and a crack trader teamed up to sell unlicensed weapons

But according to court documents, Leonard J. Laraway and Bobby Perkins jr. Together created a pipeline of illegal guns that run from suburbs of Virginia into cities in the mid-Atlantic.

Numerous Guns Associated with Men Over the last few years, police have recovered most of them from Washington, DC, according to documents filed with the US District Court in Virginia. Weapons sold by Perkins are "tied to three separate homicides," including the killing of his own cousin, state prosecutors claim.

Other weapons were found along with a bullet-proof vest from an alleged cocaine dealer. by a carjacking suspect accused of committing two armed robberies in a single night; and out of the glove compartment of a car ̵

1; just beyond the reach of a man who plunged into it during the fight with the police, according to a CNN review of court records, police reports and interviews.

More than three years later, Unseen is the long-standing trauma for CEO Veronica Bermudez, who was two months pregnant on the day of the robbery and so worried that she is unwilling to work outside her home.

"To this day, this is a nightmare for me," Bermudez told CNN. "I feel totally insecure, I will live with it for the rest of my life."

Laraway and Perkins' charges provide insight into the world of unlicensed arms trafficking, a common source of weapons used by criminals, officials say, but it's hard to control. Unlicensed traders sell weapons without checking potential buyers in the background, making them a point of contact for people who can not pass these exams. The fact that such sales are questionable without questions may be difficult to predict the future development of the weapon.

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Like many unlicensed merchants, Laraway seemed to be an unlikely suspect when he was arrested by the Federal Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, firearms and explosives, better known as ATF, has been studied.

He received a six-figure salary as an engineer from the Defense Contract Management Agency and completed a second master's degree from the prestigious US Naval War College.

He also had a flourishing side business as a black market arms dealer, according to authorities.

Laraway bought guns in licensed stores, took pictures of them, and posted them on gun websites with a brief description. – and an inflated price.

He told the authorities that he would receive phone calls from potential buyers and meet them in person for a private sale in cash – without official papers.

He sold dozens of cannons in this manner before finding his most reliable client: Perkins, a young former Marine who later admitted to court to conduct a drug trafficking conspiracy against an elementary school in an apartment complex. [19659002] Perkins sold marijuana, crack, powder cocaine and heroin. He was known to customers and business partners as "The Plug," a slang for a major source of medicines. Perkins was always armed, often with more than one weapon, the prosecution wrote in a sentencing verdict, citing his alleged slogan that he was always ready to fire.

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Laraway and Perkins first met after Perkins responded to an online ad for a Glock pistol.

It was the start of a business deal in which he would sell Perkin's estimated 200 guns over a span of a. According to court records, a few months in 2015.

They met about two dozen times, and Laraway finally began to use Perkins' Rifles to "front" in anticipation of future payments. To facilitate this agreement, Laraway Perkins gave his checking account number. In a few weeks in July and August 2015, Perkins made eight deposits on Laraway's account for a total of $ 37,000.

Later, Laraway told the federal agent that Perkins was only interested in acquiring handguns and always paid cash. He also said that he knew that Perkins resold the weapons.

By March of last year, ATF agents had tracked down about 130 police-salvaged guns Laraway was the original purchaser of, as evidenced by an affidavit by special agent Ashleigh C. Hall. According to the affidavit, Laraway stated that he had sold about 106 of these guns to Perkins before being restored by law enforcement agencies.

In the summer of 2015, federal agencies found that Laraway had purchased more than 300 guns in less than two years and opened an investigation. Laraway was charged in February 2016 with selling more than 400 unsupported firearms. He pleaded guilty two months later and started cooperating against Perkins in exchange for what he hoped would be a lighter sentence than he could otherwise be.

Larawal's wife, Yali Yin, wrote to the then judge, who asked for leniency for her husband's One-Time Mistake.

The defender of Laraway noted his client's "highly decorated career for the United States of America" ​​and his sincere remorse for his behavior.

"Since his arrest, Mr. Laraway has done everything he could possibly to to address his misconduct, "the lawyer wrote.

Laraway was sentenced to 18 months in federal jail and continued to cooperate against Perkins.

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According to prosecutors, Perkins sold more than 200 handguns, including those he knew were convicted offenders

"wrote Asst. US Atty. Alexander E. Blanchard.

And the number of weapons recovered continued to increase, Blanchard noted at the Perkins hearing in August. He told the judge that in a search carried out only a day before, another weapon had been found, according to a transcript of the procedure.

Perkins was described as hard-working in court records filed by his defense attorney. "loving husband and dad" who had overcome being expelled from high school to earn his GED, join the marines, and become a trained electrician.

"Bobby is a good man …" wrote his mother, a pastor, in a letter to the judge. "He made some mistakes, but he would still work very hard to look after his family."

Perkins spoke briefly about his hearing. He told the judge that he took responsibility for the mistakes he had committed, but denied being a violent person.

"I'm not a violent person," Perkins said. "I do not like to kill by force."

The Judge, T.S. Ellis III. Denied this claim before he had imposed his sentence. He noted the over 200 sold guns and the fact that some were "recovered by criminals and used in other crimes."

"Maybe you did not shoot anyone and maybe you did not attack anyone, but you were clearly surrounded by violence," Ellis said. It was important, the judge added, "that every sentence I set against you serves as a signal, as a warning to others not to participate in that behavior."

He sentenced Perkins to 12 years in prison in federal prison.

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Laraway has spent his time and has already left. 19659002] In an interview with CNN, Laraway's lawyer, Edwin Brooks, said Laraway started selling weapons because he did not make enough money to support his upper-middle-class lifestyle. "Like everyone else," Brooks said, "there's a lot of debt: credit and credit cards, it was basically a financial matter."

Although Laraway is no longer behind bars, Brooks said his beliefs are causing lasting damage, including the loss of his state security clearance, which prevents him from working in his chosen area. From last fall he was the manager of a gas station.

"The collateral consequences were devastating," Brooks said.

Brooks said Laraway had been blindsided by the sale of weapons to Perkins.

"There is no way for him to foresee that this would happen," the lawyer said.

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