Delco woman accused of selling illegal guns

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Delco woman charged with being straw purchaser. John Rawlins reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on April 12. (WPVI)

A Delaware County woman is accused of illegally selling nearly a dozen guns.

According to police, she lied about where the guns came from, then sold them to known criminals.

"In February 2012, she purchased her first Ruger firearm," Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan said Wednesday.

Whelan announced 35-year-old Vicki Towns-Perez, a onetime nursing assistant, has been charged with being a straw purchaser, which officials call the first link in a criminal supply chain.

They say she legally purchased nine handguns for a now deceased nephew.

Those guns ended up illegally sold on the street; five were recovered at crime scenes.

Authorities say one was used to take a life in at 6th and Highland in Chester in 2014.

If convicted, Towns-Perez will face five to ten years in the state penitentiary.

Chester is awash in gun violence. So far this year, there have been nine homicides and 41 people shot.

It is estimated that Towns-Perez, a mother of four, netted approximately $1,900.

Officials say with Towns-Perez possibly paying a hefty price for little gain, they hope to convince other would-be straw purchasers to think again.

"To put not only her own freedom in jeopardy, but the future and lives of her own children in jeopardy, I think other folks will see this," Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland said.

Delaware County has been aggressive in prosecuting this type of crime. Since 2014, five people have been convicted of straw purchases and they are now serving time in prison.

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