INDIANAPOLIS — Two Indiana brothers have been convicted of felony offenses for their scheme to illegally sell straw-purchased firearms used in crimes in both Indiana and Chicago.
Jacob Tomlin, 28, was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to two counts of making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer.
Ryan White, 21, was sentenced in January of 2023 to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to dealing firearms without a license.
According to court documents, during the summer of 2021, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) investigated the source of firearms that were located at crime scenes in Indianapolis and Chicago.
During the investigation, officials found multiple crime guns purchased by Tomlin from federally licensed firearm dealers in Indiana.
The ATF’s investigation revealed that from May 19 through June 8, 2021, Tomlin lied on federal firearms purchase documents to illegally purchase 15 handguns for White, who was too young to legally buy guns from a federally licensed dealer.
This form of gun trafficking is also called “straw purchasing,” when a person who is allowed to legally purchase a gun from a federally licensed dealer falsely states that they are purchasing a firearm for themselves, when they know that the gun is intended for someone else.
ATF agents interviewed Tomlin and White, who admitted that Tomlin lied on the federal forms to illegally purchase the guns for White. White then illegally resold some of the guns for a profit.
“This investigation demonstrates exactly how straw-purchases of firearms help to fuel gun violence in Indianapolis, Chicago, and elsewhere,” Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, said. “Gun traffickers help arm criminals who should never have had access to deadly weapons in the first place, increasing the bloodshed on our streets.”
White must also be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for two years following his release from prison.