Glock straw purchases leave 3 guilty on conspiracy charges

Two New Hampshire residents last week pled guilty to their part in buying handguns for a Massachusetts felon and lying on federal paperwork in the process.

Accepting guilty pleas to federal conspiracy charges Friday were Matthew Bergeron, 30, of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, as well as Rashawn Dunn, 30, and Jessica Fithian, 33, both of Manchester, New Hampshire, over a plan in which Bergeron, a convicted felon, paid Dunn and Fithian to buy guns for him from a licensed firearms dealer.

According to court documents, Bergeron paid the two co-conspirators $200 to lie on federal paperwork to purchase Glocks meant for him from Riley’s Sport Shop in Hooksett, New Hampshire in 2016. Dunn purchased a Glock 26 9mm subcompact with three 17-round magazines in June while Fithian purchased a Glock 23 .40 S&W with an extended 22-round magazine and seven boxes of ammunition in July. All three defendants traveled to Riley’s together during the sale, with Bergeron showing the straw buyers pictures of the guns he wanted while he remained in the car during the sales.

The plan drew attention from authorities in August when police in Leominster, Massachusetts recovered the Glock 23 at the scene of a shooting involving Bergeron. As he was a prohibited firearms possessor, a trace led officials to Fithian who originally told investigators she had bought the .40S&W handgun for protection and it had subsequently been stolen but not reported. After being advised the gun was taken from Bergeron — who she had only known by the street name “Blue” — after a shooting, Fithian changed her story and told authorities she bought the gun in collusion with the Massachusetts man.

Fithian cooperated with investigators, providing them with text messages exchanged with Bergeron about the handguns as well as a photograph.

The trio were charged under a six-count indictment last November. Dunn and Fithian each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy while Bergeron pleaded guilty to two counts of the same. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, $250,000 in fines and three years’ probation. The guns were forfeited.

All three are set for separate sentencing hearings scheduled for June in front of Chief U.S. District Judge Joseph LaPlante.

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