Texas gun dealer convicted of illegal sales in DFW area


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A federally licensed gun dealer was sentenced to four years in prison on Friday after pleading guilty to selling guns to unlicensed dealers for resale, according to a US Department of Justice press release.

Jonathan Ludlow, 48, pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to sell unlicensed firearms and making false statements on ATF forms, as well as possessing an unregistered suppressor.

In his plea, Ludlow admitted to regularly selling large numbers of identical firearms, including AR-15-style pistols, to unlicensed associates from his vehicle, according to the Justice Department. He said he knew they intended to immediately try to resell the weapons for a profit.

The sales took place at several locations across DFW and the guns were generally sold for cash, according to the Department of Justice.

Two of the people he illegally sold the guns to, Romello Harris and Christopher Meza, pleaded guilty to conspiring with Ludlow to sell unarmed firearms, according to the Justice Department. They said that, to cover up their crime, Harris and Meza would lie on forms submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, claiming they were the “real transferees” of the weapons. They weren’t.

Harris was sentenced to a year and a month in prison and Meza is awaiting sentencing, according to the Justice Department.

Ludlow allegedly lied about the date and location of the transaction, the type of firearms sold and details regarding compliance with the National Institute’s criminal background check system, according to the Justice Department.

Federal law prohibits federally licensed firearms dealers, or FFLs, from selling to “straw buyers” or unlicensed dealers who the seller knows will “engage in the business of ‘firearms’, according to the Department of Justice. Same-state private transfers do not have federal background check requirements, but FFLs must perform background checks on all buyers.

The ATF executed a federal search warrant on Ludlow’s residence in Aledo and seized more than 100 firearms, including 17 AR-15s, 12 Glock pistols and about 10 unregistered suppressors, according to the Department of Justice. All of these were confiscated and Ludlow surrendered his federal firearms license.

Ludlow was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Reed C. O’Connor in Fort Worth.

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James Hartley is a breaking news reporter at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He’s a North Texas native who joined the Star-Telegram team during an internship in 2019 and just didn’t leave. He is passionate about true stories and likes sober films, good tea and scotch out of his budget.

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