Author: Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.
By Ricardo Torres-Cortez Las Vegas Sun
LAS VEGAS — A North Las Vegas man who allegedly sold a gun that later ended up in the hands of a man who wounded three California law enforcement officers last year — one fatally — was indicted for illegally buying and reselling firearms, according to the office of the U.S. attorney for the district of Nevada.
Some of the weapons Charles Martin Ellis, 64, allegedly sold ended up being linked to various crimes in Nevada and California, officials said.
A federal grand jury in Las Vegas today charged him with one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license and one count of the transfer or sale of a firearm to a non-resident, officials said. If convicted, the 64-year-old could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
During a two-year period, beginning in January 2016, Ellis, an unlicensed dealer, allegedly “bought and quickly resold” more than 250 weapons, which included AR-15-style rifles, and AK-47-style assault guns to customers in Nevada who “he knew or had reasonable cause to know were residents of other states.”
The investigation into Ellis kicked off after the August 2017 slaying of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert French.
Two California Highway Patrol Troopers were wounded when the alleged gunman, a suspect in a car-theft ring, fired rounds through the door and a wall of a Sacramento hotel at an officer task force that was probing the location, and had knocked.
The shooter then went to a back balcony from where he shot French before fleeing. He was wounded by police after a brief car chase.
Reports suggest the suspect in the shooting used a rifle equipped with a high-capacity magazine, which is illegal in California.
Nevada authorities said the gunman used a Zastava 7.62mm-caliber pistol that was sold by Ellis to a third person before acquiring it for the spree.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.