SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Connecticut man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Springfield to charges in connection with stealing 17 firearms from a West Springfield gun shop and making false statements to federal agents.
According to the office of Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell, 31-year-old Christian Castro of New Britain, Connecticut pleaded guilty to the following:
- Theft of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee
- Being a felon in possession of a firearm
- Interstate transportation of a stolen firearm
- Receipt, possession, concealment, storage, barter, sale, or disposition of a stolen firearm in interstate commerce
- Making false statements to a federal official
Castro’s sentencing is scheduled for September 23, 2021.
In September 2020, Castro was charged by a criminal complaint with co-defendant Fernando Rivera, who agreed to plead guilty Thursday. Castro was a felon on state probation for two prior convictions in Connecticut for larceny and possessing narcotics with intent to distribute.
According to Mendell, shortly after midnight on or about August 29, 2020, Rivera and Castro engaged in a crime spree in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts that included seven ATM thefts which lead to the theft of 17 firearms from a Federal Firearms Licensee in West Springfield.
On September 18, 2020, federal agents arrested the two men at their homes in Connecticut. Castro allegedly admitted that he drove to and from several ATM robberies and the gun store robbery, but falsely stated he never received, kept or even touched any of the stolen guns.
The firearms charges each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of making false statements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.