NORRISTOWN — A Norristown man is heading to state prison for unlawful possession of a firearm after being charged in an investigation into a straw-buying scheme involving multiple people.
Stanley Walter Wise, 30, of the 200 block of Oak Street, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to 5 to 10 years in a state correctional facility after pleading guilty to charges of people not possessing firearms, fleeing and evading police, and driving under the influence of controlled substances in connection with incidents that occurred between December 2020 and February 2021.
The sentence was imposed by Judge Thomas M. DelRicci as part of a plea agreement.
According to court documents, in February 2021, members of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Violent Crimes Unit, Pennsylvania State Police and Cheltenham Police Department opened a joint investigation into the purchase and the illegal transfer of firearms by several people, including Wise, who was registered in court. papers as the main target of the investigation.
Detectives alleged those involved in the incidents relied on so-called ‘straw buying’ schemes to carry out their businesses.
A fictitious purchase occurs when a person with a clean background purchases firearms on behalf of another person to conceal the true owner of the firearm. Those unable to purchase firearms legally include convicted felons, perpetrators of domestic violence, minors, and the mentally ill.
In court documents, detectives alleged that Wise had a criminal history that included a drug offense and which prohibited him from owning a firearm.
However, according to a criminal complaint, on February 4, 2021, state police conducted a traffic stop of a Toyota Avalon operated by Wise at the MacDade Boulevard off-ramp of northbound I-476 in the county of Delaware, at which time several firearms were located in the vehicle.
These firearms, including a loaded Zastava Arms AK-47 pistol and a Glock 9mm handgun, and a review of records determined that the weapons were purchased by Faatir Ali Al-Ahad, 25, of block 7300 of Sycamore Avenue in the Elkins Park section of Cheltenham Township. , between December 2020 and January 2021, according to court documents. None of the firearms had been reported stolen by Al-Ahad and police said the situation was a “strong” indicator of a straw purchase.
Al-Ahad, previously pleaded guilty to charges of corrupt organizations, selling firearms to ineligible transferees, trafficking in proceeds of illegal activities, tampering without oath to authorities and conspiracy, and awaits his conviction.
Al-Ahad had no criminal history and was therefore able to buy firearms for others who were prohibited from owning firearms because of their age or criminal background, the official alleged. State Police Trooper Brian Kedra in a criminal complaint.
Investigators alleged that Al-Ahad purchased eight firearms on three separate occasions between December 2020 and January 2021 from gun stores in Springfield Township and Norristown in Montgomery County and in Warminster and Southampton in Bucks County.
Two other men who were allegedly in Wise’s vehicle at the time of the Feb. 4 traffic stop have also been charged in connection with the straw-buying schemes.
The judge ordered that the weapons seized be forfeited to county detectives.
Authorities alleged that Wise attempted to flee from authorities shortly before the traffic stop and then told police he needed to sober up after taking a large amount of various pills, according to the criminal complaint.
Other charges of corrupt organizations, conspiracy, false written statements and trafficking in the proceeds of illegal activities were dismissed against Wise as part of the plea agreement.
Assistant District Attorney Samantha Arena handled the case. Defense attorney Vincent Erik Petersen represented Wise.