A Gilbert man was sentenced to 33 months in prison for dealing in firearms without a license.
Chris Oliver, 24, of Gilbert, Arizona, was sentenced Oct. 17 by U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes to 33 months in prison. Oliver previously pleaded guilty to dealing in firearms without a license.
Oliver was indicted for conspiracy to purchase firearms from Arizona gun stores using false statements in order to resell those firearms for profit.
Oliver and his co-defendants — Dion Delpino, 24, of Gilbert; Michael Troy Kelly, Jr., 24, of Tempe; and Eric Roy Rathbun II, 24, of Chandler — were also charged with 76 instances of making a false statement during the purchase of firearms. All of Oliver’s co-conspirators have pleaded guilty to making false statements and are pending sentencing.
From July 2019 through November 2020, Oliver and his co-conspirators purchased at least 123 firearms for the purpose of selling them for a profit. Oliver then resold those firearms, mostly handguns, for a profit.
Thirty of those handguns were recovered by law enforcement: 28 in or around Oakland, California, and two in the Phoenix metro area. Many of these firearms were recovered from prohibited possessors —persons who are legally prohibited from possessing firearms. Six were recovered in six separate homicide investigations, including one incident in which Stockton (California) Police Officer Jimmy Arty Inn was murdered while responding to a domestic violence call.
Oliver was said to be the manager of this criminal enterprise, directing his co-conspirators to purchase weapons on his behalf, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona.
Oliver, Kelly, and Delpino were first indicted in August 2021; additional counts against Oliver and Rathbun were added in May 2022.
This case was prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent-crime reduction efforts.
PSN is an evidence-based program to reduce violent crime. PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, with assistance from the Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, and Scottsdale police departments, as well as Homeland Security Investigations and the Commercial Narcotics Interdiction Unit of the Phoenix Police Department, conducted the investigation in this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Coleen Schoch, District of Arizona, Phoenix, handled the prosecution.