ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — A St. Paul man is charged with illegally selling guns that have been linked to at least three crime scenes in the Twin Cities.
Federal investigators arrested 29-year-old Eitan Feldman on Thursday morning. Feldman is accused of selling firearms without a license and lying on several of the transactions.
Investigators believe he’s responsible for putting at least 50 illegal guns on the streets in the last two years.
On the website Armslist.com, buying and selling firearms happens with the click of a mouse. It creates an anonymity that Eitan Feldman is accused of using to his advantage when he allegedly sold dozens of guns illegally.
“If you buy and sell guns to make money, you are a gun dealer and you must conduct background checks,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said.
Authorities say Feldman got around the law by claiming to be a gun collector. Firearms collectors differ from firearms dealers because the emphasis isn’t on buying and selling for profit. Collectors don’t have to give background checks.
“Lying to get around the law in this instance is a crime,” Luger said.
Investigators believe it ultimately made it easier for anyone, including those prohibited from a firearms purchase, to buy his guns.
“Some of the weapons he sold were very quickly used in violent crimes, sometimes, within days of the sale,” Luger said.
Two of those crimes happened in Minneapolis. Police recovered a gun outside a home during an assault last April and officers recovered a gun during a drug call in May of 2015.
Authorities say their investigation led them back to Feldman.
“We were able to identify Feldman as a source for those guns,” said Jim Modzelewski, a special agent with the ATF.
In July, ATF special agents searched Feldman’s home recovering five shotguns and several bills of sale for other weapons.
A couple of months later, authorities even warned him he faced arrest if he continued to break the law. Modzelewski said it’s common for ATF agents to give a warning in cases like these. He said, often times, people will correct the action.
However, investigators said that was not the case with Feldman. In December of 2015 and January of this year, he sold guns to two undercover agents without doing a background check.
Thursday morning, they made an arrest.
“The Twin Cities is a little safer now that Feldman is out of the gun business,” Modzelewski said.
If convicted, he faces five years in prison.