Woman sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for role in straw purchasing scheme

A federal judge sentenced a Minnesota woman to a year and a half in prison on Wednesday after she pleaded guilty to helping straw purchase close to 100 firearms.

Sarah Jean Elwood pleaded guilty in December to one count of aiding and abetting false statements in connection with the purchase of firearms. As part of the plea deal, prosecutors agreed to drop four counts against her.

Elwood’s 18-month prison sentence will be followed by two years of supervised release.

Also convicted in the scheme are Jeffrey Paul Jackson and Geryiell Lamont Walker II. They were sentenced to four and five years in prison, respectively.

Walker had originally pleaded not guilty to all four of the counts against him, but in March he changed his plea to guilty on one count of making false statements during the purchase of firearms in exchange for having the other three charges dropped.

Jackson entered his guilty plea alongside Elwood.

As previously reported, a federal indictment states the trio had conspired to buy a total of 97 firearms — including 62 in May 2021 alone — on behalf of others, misrepresenting their intentions to federally licensed firearms dealers. They charged a $100 fee on top of the retail price for each gun and bypassed the federal background check system on behalf of people who are barred from having guns.

So far, investigators have recovered just 18 of these weapons, either at crime scenes or in the possession of felons restricted from owning a firearm.