A Shrewsbury man was sentenced to one year in federal prison last week after pleading guilty in June to a charge that he falsely claimed he was buying a gun for himself in May 2020, but had it in fact purchased for a man described by a federal prosecutor as a “drug dealer from Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Leland Martin, 35, of Shrewsbury, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Vermont on December 22 to one year and one day in prison followed by two years of supervised release.
Martin was arraigned in federal court in October 2020 on one count of misrepresentation while acquiring firearms and one count of misrepresentation while attempting to acquire firearms .
Under a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to one charge while the other was dismissed.
A sentencing memorandum, filed by Nicole Cate, a deputy U.S. lawyer, outlined the details of the charge.
The note stated that Martin had purchased two Glock pistols at Seiple’s Shoot Shop in Belmont on May 20, 2020. Filling out the required paperwork, Martin said he was purchasing the guns for himself, but purchasing them for the man. from Holyoke.
The note states that one of the Glock pistols was recovered near the Holyoke man’s home two days later, on May 22, 2020.
He returned to Seiple on June 16, 2020 and attempted to purchase a Glock pistol and a Ruger pistol.
Martin filled out the forms and again said he would own the guns.
On the second visit, store staff did not sell the guns to Martin.
At the time of the gun purchase and attempted purchase, Martin was an addict and allowed a narcotics trafficker to stay in his home, Cate wrote.
The memo said Martin had violated court-ordered release conditions six times since his arrest in October 2020, with three of those violations occurring after pleading guilty in federal court in June.
All of the violations involved the use of drugs by Martin, including cocaine.
Cate argued that Martin should face a “substantial” sentence, in part because he was acting as a “straw buyer,” a role that increases the number of weapons available to drug traffickers.
Cate’s memo said Martin grew up in a supportive family and demonstrated a “strong work ethic” but continued to use drugs even after a fatal overdose from a loved one. at the end of 2020 and an overdose he himself had suffered.
“While engaged in inpatient and outpatient drug treatment programs, his refusal to comply with court conditions despite several chances to do so warrants jail time,” Cate wrote. .
Burlington attorney Robert Katims, who represents Martin, began his sentencing memorandum with a Zen proverb he translated as “Fall seven times, get up eight.”
“Leland Martin is trying. He fails quite often, but he tries, ”Katims wrote.
Katims’ memo acknowledged that Martin had repeatedly used cocaine while on parole.
“However, he did not fail to indulge in the criminal conduct for which he is convicted. While Mr. Martin may be a threat to use drugs again, he is not a threat to buy guns for drug dealers. Or even own a gun, ”Katims wrote.
According to Katims’ memo, what matters is not the time Martin spends in prison but “how he is doing once he is released”.
“He has the message. He gets what needs to be done. And even if he can fall back, he will get up, ”Katims said.
Katims requested time served for the five months that Martin had been in jail.
The memo argues that Martin, although sober, is not a threat to the public and that “even with a relapse, the person most injured is Mr. Martin.”
Martin had no criminal history prior to the federal case, according to Cate’s memo.