Wissinoming man gets prison time for straw purchase

Wissinoming resident Johnny Leach, 20, will spend at least two years in prison for his participation in a straw purchase, in which he illegally acquired a gun in exchange for erasing an acquaintance’s drug debt.

From the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office:  On March 23rd of 2012, Leach went into a gun store in the Northeast section of Philadelphia along with 48-year-old Sophia Lawrence. Lawrence owed Leach money for drugs and agreed to purchase a 9mm handgun for him in order to pay off the debt. Lawrence was able to buy the gun because she had no criminal record or other disqualifying factors. At the time Leach arranged the “straw purchase” of the firearm, he was on juvenile probation for a gunpoint robbery.” The Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force set up surveillance at the store when employees there tipped the agents off to the suspicious nature of the purchase. Agents witnessed the transaction, which took place as follows: On the day of the purchase, Leach picked Lawrence up at her home, gave her $400 and drove her to the gun store to buy the gun. Both Leach and Lawrence went into the gun store and she filled out the paperwork certifying that she was the “actual buyer” of the gun. Her background check was approved and she took possession of the 9mm handgun. Attorney General agents were monitoring the entire transaction and followed Leach when he drove Lawrence back to her home. Lawrence got out of the vehicle and Leach drove off with the gun still in his possession.” Leach was sentenced to two to four years in prison, plus seven years of reporting probation.

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