CHEYENNE – Five people, including two Cheyenne residents, will be tried in federal court early next year after being charged with multiple firearms offenses.
Tierra Holland, 33, and Darwin Francisco Thomas, 33, both live in Cheyenne. They were charged alongside Sherwin J. Williams, 26, of Lancaster, California; Dexter Alfred Thomas, 31, of Gardena, California; and Phillip Martin Flores of Las Vegas, Nevada. All have pleaded not guilty to their respective charges.
All of the defendants were charged with conspiracy to make false statements during the purchase of firearms and unlawfully transporting firearms out of Wyoming.
A jury trial is set for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 18 before U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson in Cheyenne. The trial is expected to last eight days, according to a Wednesday news release from the office of the U.S. Attorney for Wyoming.
According to a grand jury indictment filed July 22, Holland, Darwin Thomas, Williams, Dexter Thomas and Flores conspired to direct and use two individuals to purchase firearms for them in Wyoming from July 2020 to about April 30, 2021. All except Holland allegedly provided money for these purchases. Williams, Dexter Thomas and Flores allegedly traveled across state lines into Wyoming and then left with the newly purchased firearms.
Additionally, Holland was charged with one count of aiding and abetting someone making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, while Darwin Thomas was charged with six counts of the same offense. Williams was charged with making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, and Dexter Thomas was charged with three counts of aiding and abetting someone making a false statement during purchase of a firearm.
A sixth defendant in the case, Kenton Oliver Thomas, has not yet been arrested or arraigned. He is charged with one count of conspiracy to make false statements during the purchase of firearms and unlawfully transporting firearms out of Wyoming, along with two counts of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.
Darwin Thomas, one of the Cheyenne residents, could face up to 35 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1.75 million – the most severe potential consequences for any defendant in the case. Holland, the other Cheyenne resident, could face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000.
If convicted, all of the defendants would be required to forfeit to the federal government any firearms or ammunition involved in the case.
In the initial complaint filed April 29, Williams was accused of falsifying his home address to obtain a Wyoming ID, which he then used to purchase firearms in Wyoming. An investigation found that Williams had most recently lived in Los Angeles, and that he’d not previously lived in Wyoming, despite him saying so to obtain the state ID card and on a federal form he signed when purchasing multiple firearms at Frontier Arms and Supply in Cheyenne.
Williams and the other defendants allegedly communicated with one another over Facebook Messenger about the types and prices of firearms they wanted to buy, and discussed where they would buy them, according to the July indictment. They were then allegedly involved, to various degrees, in illegally paying for, obtaining and transporting those firearms across state lines over about a 10-month period in 2020 and 2021.
Agencies involved in investigating the case include the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, the Cheyenne Police Department and the Laramie Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Forwood is prosecuting the case.