Albert Raul Franco was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Andrew P. Gordon to three years in prison for illegally acquiring 11 firearms through a straw purchaser who made false statements on federal firearms transaction documents during the purchases, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Franco, 35, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in August 2019, to seven counts of illegal acquisition of a firearm. In addition to the prison term, Franco was sentenced to three years of supervised release.
According to court documents and admissions made in his plea agreement, on five separate occasions between July 28, 2017, and October 26, 2017, Franco directed co-defendant Tiffany Henderson to make false statements on the Firearms Transaction Record during the purchase of 11 handguns at different Federal Firearms Licensee businesses. On the Firearms Transaction Record, Henderson represented that she was the actual buyer of the firearms, when in fact these purchases were made on Franco’s behalf.
Franco, an admitted gang member and convicted felon, is prohibited from owning and possessing a firearm because of his prior convictions for multiple firearms and drug-related offenses and a conviction for assaulting a police officer. Franco’s pretrial release in this case was revoked after he failed to report an encounter with law enforcement during which he fled and was found to possess cocaine.
Co-defendant Henderson previously pleaded guilty to five counts of illegal acquisition of a firearm and aiding and abetting. She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23, 2020.
The charges resulted from an investigation by the ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney Simon Kung is prosecuting the case.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the U.S. Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the ATF when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.