Man involved in illegal gun transaction in New Britain gets 46 months in prison for acting as 'straw purchaser' for drug dealer

Published on Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:39
Written by JUSTIN MUSZYNSKI

@MUSZYNSKIBP

NEW BRITAIN – An Enfield man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for buying numerous guns – two of which were recovered in New Britain – and selling them illegally to support his drug habit to individuals who cannot pass a background check.

Norman Klosek, 36, was sentenced to 46 months in prison on Wednesday in federal court, in New Haven. His sentence will be followed by three years of supervised release. He is free on $50,000 bond and is expected to report to prison on Nov. 17.

Klosek in March pleaded guilty to one count of dealing firearms without a license and one count of making a false statement during the acquisition of a firearm after officials from the U.S. Attorneys Office said he purchased 47 guns between November 2018 and April 2019, when his residence was searched and authorities reported finding empty gun boxes and receipts for firearm purchases but no guns. He was arrested the next day in Hartford and found with Fentanyl/heroin.

Two of the guns Klosek purchased were recovered in New Britain. According to federal officials, on April 22, 2019, Ricardo Reyes picked up Klosek in Enfield and drove to the Newington Gun Exchange – a licensed gun dealer – where Klosek, who had a valid state firearm permit, bought two handguns.

“During the purchase, Klosek completed and signed an ATF Form 4473 form in which he falsely represented that he was the actual purchaser of the firearms and was not acquiring the firearms for another person,” federal officials said Wednesday in a statement announcing Klosek’s sentencing. “He also represented that he was not an unlawful user, or addicted to, any controlled substances.”

Klosek then provided the guns to Reyes, federal officials said.

Following the transaction, investigators say they observed Reyes, New Britain resident Carlos Soto, 39, and 41-year-old Julio Martinez, also of New Britain, on High Street in New Britain. Martinez then left and drove to a nearby grocery store.

Believing Martinez had already bought the guns, investigators stopped and searched him as he left the grocery store. Authorities realized he had gone to the store to use the ATM after finding him with $850 but no guns.

Investigators later in the day pulled over Reyes in New Britain and found the two firearms in his vehicle.

Federal officials said they discovered Klosek was acting as a straw purchaser for Reyes while investigating Reyes for allegedly distributing fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and crack in the area of Park Street and Hungerford Street in Hartford. A straw purchaser is someone who can pass a background check and agrees to purchase firearms for someone who cannot pass the screening.

According to officials from the U.S. Attorneys office, Reyes, who goes by “Rick the Ruler,” is a member of the Los Solidos street gang. He has pleaded guilty and has not yet been sentenced.

Soto and Martinez, who have also pleaded guilty, have each been sentenced to 46 months in prison.

As of Wednesday, federal officials said, 10 of the 47 guns Klosek purchased have been recovered. One of the firearms was found after it had been used during a shooting in Hartford in August 2019. Others were found during criminal investigations last month in Brimfield, Mass., and Riverside, Calif.

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or jmuszynski@bristolpress.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain, Newington on Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:39. Updated: Thursday, 15 October 2020 14:42.