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Police officer, gun store owner charged with illegal purchases

Published On: Jul 26 2013 01:40:32 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 26 2013 07:10:18 PM EDT

Federal Agents say James Slate who is a Rocky Mount police officer turned himself in here today after hatching a scheme with another man to make some serious money off guns


Federal investigators say that David Haskins and James Slate hatched a scheme to complete what are known as straw purchases from a competing gun store. Haskins owns Southern Gun in Bassett. Slate is a Rocky Mount police officer.

According to federal court records, Haskins gave money to Slate who would then use his law enforcement discount to buy a specialized gun from Town Police Supply in Collinsville. Town Police Supply, according to a search warrant affidavit, had exclusive rights to sell Smith and Wesson M&P 10 rifles to public safety officers and members of the military. Prosecutors allege Haskins then tried to resell the rifles online for several hundred dollars more than the purchase price. Such purchases are illegal, prosecutors allege, because federal firearms purchase forms require that the purchaser is the actual buyer of the firearm.

Haskins and Slate recruited other buyers as well. A total of 32 guns were seized according to a source with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Those buyers cooperated with the investigation and will not be charged.

Haskins was arrested July 12th. He is charged with eighteen counts of making false statements to a license firearms dealer in relation to the purchase of a firearm and one count of conspiracy to make straw purchases of firearms.

Slate turned himself in Friday and is charged with one count of conspiracy to make straw purchases of firearms.

Both Slate and Haskins face a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge. Haskins faces an additional maximum possible penalty of up to ten years in prison on ten counts of making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer and a maximum possible penalty of up to five years on the remaining eight counts of making false statements.