A Buffalo man with a prior felony conviction pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to inducing others to unlawfully buy firearms for him.
By pleading guilty to the federal offense, Rasheen T. Alston, 23, of Wyoming Street, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to U.S. Attorney Denise E. O'Donnell.
Six times between Jan. 20 and Feb. 18, 1998, Alston persuaded four persons to buy a total of 12 firearms in their names -- but on his behalf, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard P. Maigret.
The buyers falsely swore on federal firearms forms that they were the actual buyers, when Alston had provided them the money for the weapons, as well as cash and other "inducements" for their actions, Maigret said. As soon as they bought the weapons, the buyers turned them over to Alston, the lawyer said.
According to the plea agreement Alston signed, he then sold the firearms illegally on the street. Three of the firearms were purchased by people working with special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Alston had been convicted on Aug. 2, 1996, in Erie County Court on a felony charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, according to the attorneys. As a convicted felon, he was prohibited by federal statute from owning a firearm.
All the firearms in the case were purchased at the Buffalo Gun Center at 3385 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga. The store, a licensed firearms dealer, cooperated with ATF investigators.
One of Alston's buyers, Daryel Cotton, 33, of Richlawn Avenue, was indicted as a co-defendant in the case. He previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced Aug. 6 by U.S. District Judge John T. Elfvin to 45 months in prison.