Feds: Straw Purchases Put Guns in the Wrong Hands

KINGSTON — We now know that a raid in Kingston earlier this month had to do with a federal investigation into straw purchases of weapons. That’s when people who legally buy weapons, later sell them to others who are not supposed to have guns.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office believes three people from the Kingston area were involved in the straw purchases from last March through March of this year. The investigation into these weapons also helped authorities uncover a cocaine ring.

Illegal guns, cash, and cocaine, all of this found inside this home on South Gates Avenue in Kingston earlier this month. It’s a home neighbors were worried about.

“Cars speeding up the street. Even the neighbors were concerned, and there’s so many vehicles that we had no idea who these people were.”jovon martin

The United States Attorney’s Office believes Jovon Martin, 31, of Kingston is behind it. The feds indicted Martin last week on several gun and drug charges. Christine Hanahan, 30, of Kingston, and John Teslicko, 50, of Larksville, were also indicted.

Authorities believe they were involved in straw purchases of guns, buying guns for those who aren’t allowed to purchase them themselves.

Kingston gun shop owner Norm Gavlick is familiar with straw purchases.

“If someone comes in looking at a particular gun and seemingly knows that they can’t buy it and then they leave the store and a little while later or the next day, someone else comes in and goes right to that gun to buy that gun, those are the kind of things we watch for all the time,” said gun shop owner Norm Gavlick.

Gavlick says shop owners can be charged if the sales happen under their watch. He has the right to refuse the sale of guns if he thinks they’re straw purchases.

Neighbors we spoke with say they were suspicious of this home because of all of the traffic they noticed on the street a few weeks prior to the arrests, but they were surprised to hear about the guns.

“The amount of ammunition and the guns. That just shocked, that shocked us all.”

A neighbor did not want to be identified on camera out of fear that someday Martin, Hanahan, Teslicko or one of their friends will come after her.

“They’ll set your house on fire. They’ll shoot you. They don’t care. It’s all about the drug money and the amount of money they can make.”

Martin, Hanahan and Teslicko are all locked up. Martin is expected to go to trial in May and faces a mandatory minimum of 30 years behind bars. The others face a maximum of 10 years.

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