Portland inmate picks out weapons at sporting items retailer by way of jail name to girlfriend

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A man behind bars in Portland instructed his girlfriend to buy guns for him in prison when she was shopping at a Keith sports store and selecting an FN Herstal Five-Seven pistol, laser beam attachments and advanced magazines.

She heard his instructions through her bluetooth headphones, according to court documents.

According to the prosecutor, the recorded call even picked up a salesperson in the background.

The inmate, who was in jail for a threatening conviction, then bragged about the purchase to others on subsequent prison calls and talked about how the five-seven pistol can pierce a ballistic vest, prosecutors said.

The seller became suspicious of the sale and alerted the police after the woman left. He said she may have illegally bought the guns for someone else.

Federal agents searched the friend’s house and, according to court records, confiscated four weapons. A search of her cell phone revealed messages she sent to express concern that she would get into trouble for buying the guns for her boyfriend.

On Tuesday, 30-year-old Jaquon Isaiah Harris pleaded guilty in federal court in Portland to misrepresenting conspiracy to purchase a firearm. The crime is punished with up to five years in prison.

While visiting prison, Harris admitted that his girlfriend had bought a gun for him, according to court documents. According to US assistant attorney Lewis Burkhart, he spoke about arms trafficking with others and was excited to be able to shoot them one day.

Harris’ “brazen attempt to buy firearms on taped prison calls shows how long the defendant has been willing to break the law,” Burkhart wrote in a court memo. He told Harris to remain in jail pending conviction.

The FN Herstal Five-Seven fires a large-caliber round. Harris’ boast about the gun’s ability to shoot through a ballistic vest “is incredibly alarming,” said Burkhart.

At the time of the purchases last May, Harris was in jail, according to court records, for violating his post-jail custody rules for convictions for threatening and illegal use of a gun in 2016. Harris had attacked his girlfriend and threatened to stab her with scissors, court records show.

Harris also has previous convictions for robbery, attempted break-in, battery, assault and domestic violence in Oregon, Massachusetts and Idaho, Burkhart noted.

Harris’ defense attorney Fidel Cassino-DuCloux has not contested his client’s continued detention. Harris is due to be sentenced on August 23.

Conspiracy charges are pending against his co-defendant Brianna Price-Cornelius.

Jason Chudy, a spokesman for the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said buying guns for someone banned from buying guns, known as buying in the straw, “is something we are watching closely and take it very seriously. “

“We saw and investigated such straw purchases,” said Chudy. “I don’t remember any from prison per se, but I can’t imagine this being the first time.”

– Maxine Bernstein

Email to [email protected]; 503-221-8212

Follow @maxoregonian on Twitter

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