5 indicted in guns-for-gangs case in Minneapolis

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A federal indictment released Thursday accuses five people of illegally conspiring to provide guns to members of criminal gangs in Minneapolis.

The indictment alleges two women bought guns for their boyfriends and another man whose felony convictions made them ineligible to own firearms. Authorities say the women purchased at least seven weapons and a large amount of ammunition for the gang members.

Scott Sweetow of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives says "This was a partnership between straw purchasers who showed a pattern of buying particular weapons and ammunition that was very quickly turning up in criminal acts," the Associated Press reports.

The indicted men include 20-year-old Diontre Hill, who was charged Wednesday with firing gunshots at a vehicle carrying four children in Minneapolis. One of them was an 8-year-old girl who may lose her eyesight after being hit by shards of glass.

MPR News reports the women who were indicted include a former Hennepin County corrections officer. According to court documents, Jacquelyn Burnes had started a romantic relationship with Hill while he was in jail. Authorities say the other indicted woman is a cook at Minneapolis South High School and is the mother of the girl injured in the car shooting.

The U.S. Attorney for Minnesota, Andy Luger, tells WCCO “The two women who were alleged to have been the straw purchasers were told by the defendants, who could not purchase guns, what to buy, when and what ammunition to get for the guns.”

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The Star Tribune reports that Sweetow, who is in charge of the ATF's St. Paul region, is especially troubled by the involvement of a now-fired corrections officer in the case. “We’re interested in the recovery of firearms found in crimes,” he said, “but we’re particularly concerned when the person involved holds a special position of public trust and abuses that trust.”

Bland Indictment

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