PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Five Providence men have been indicted on charges stemming from a statewide illegal gun purchasing scheme, according to the R.I. Attorney General’s office.
The AG’s office said the men ran a “straw-purchasing” scheme between June 2019 and August 2020 involving 89 illegal firearms.
Straw purchasing, the AG’s office explained, is when someone purchases a gun on the behalf of someone else in an effort to avoid federal and state background checks.
Rashaan Mangum, 29, bought the firearms from various dealers in Providence, Woonsocket, Warwick, Cranston and North Kingstown using false information, according to the AG’s office. He would then go on to sell them to others without filing the proper paperwork.
“‘Straw purchases’ are a substantial source of illegal guns in our state and a threat to public safety,” Attorney General Peter Neronha said.
Police were skeptical of Mangum’s story, according to court records, which revealed there were “numerous inconsistencies in Mangum’s account for his whereabouts over the 10-day period.”
Over the course of the investigation, detectives learned four other men, identified as Brady Robinson, 27, Yovaniell Sostre, 25, Anthony Jaiman, 28, and Wascar Rivas, 25, were also involved in the scheme. The AG’s office said the men had either conspired with or solicited Mangum to purchase the weapons.
Mangum, Robinson and Rivas will be arraigned in Providence County Superior Court at a later date, while Jaiman was arraigned Thursday afternoon, according to the AG’s office.
Sostre has yet to be taken into custody, according to the AG’s office, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.