Eden Prairie man sentenced to 10 years for role in guns straw purchasing conspiracy | KSTP.com

Eden Prairie man sentenced to 10 years for role in guns straw purchasing conspiracy

Eden Prairie man sentenced to 10 years for role in guns straw purchasing conspiracy Photo: MGN Images.

Gracie Stockton
Updated: October 07, 2021 06:33 PM
Created: October 07, 2021 06:05 PM

An Eden Prairie man was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in a firearms straw purchasing conspiracy.

Damien Lashaun Nelson, 32, was sentenced to 120 months behind bars and three subsequent years of supervised release, according to the District of Minnesota United States Attorney's Office.

Between June and October of 2020, prosecutors say Nelson conspired with three others to buy multiple firearms illegally — which he was not allowed to possess as a convicted felon in Dakota, Scott and Hennepin counties. Brooklyn Park woman Melissa Hallich, one of the straw buyers, pleaded guilty to buying four guns for Nelson, including three semi-automatic pistols and a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, according to court documents.

Hallich falsified information on the ATF Forms 4473 required for purchase, saying she would be the guns' owner; however, Nelson had given her money to purchase the weapons on his behalf. Her sentencing is set for Nov. 17.

In October 2020, Nelson was found with a loaded 12-gauge sawed-off shotgun. On Dec. 29, he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm and one count of conspiracy.

The local, state and federal Project Safe Neighborhoods Program prosecuted the case — the program is the "centerpiece" of the Department of Justice's efforts to reduce violent crime, according to the release. It partners with local prevention and reentry programs to focus on violent offenders.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Burnsville Police Department, the Eden Prairie Police Department, the Dakota County Attorney's Office and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Human Trafficking Task Force.

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