(STL.News) – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today that Dakota S. Lovellette, 19, and Nicholas P. Apple, 22, both of Vincennes, Ind., were indicted by a grand jury for charges of conspiring to make a false statement and making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of a firearm.
“If you choose to lie on federal firearm forms in order to illegally purchase firearms, you will be prosecuted under federal law,” said Minkler. “The Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to reducing gun violence and enforcing federal laws through its Project Guardian initiative.”
According to the indictment, in February of 2019, Apple asked another individual (Individual A) to purchase a firearm for Lovellette. Lovellette was under the age of 21 and, therefore, unable to purchase the firearm himself. Apple was also unable to purchase a firearm because he is a convicted felon. Apple was previously convicted for obstruction of justice, in Knox County, Ind., on July 18, 2018. Apple traveled to the Rural King located at 2655 North 6th Street, Vincennes, Ind. for the purpose of locating and examining firearms that could be purchased for Lovellette. Later in the day, on February 4, 2019, Lovellette, Apple, and Individual A met in the parking lot of the Rural King to prepare Individual A to purchase a firearm for Lovellette. Lovellette told Individual A to buy him a Taurus revolver and gave Individual A money to purchase the firearm. Lovellette and Apple explained to Individual A where the revolver was located in Rural King’s display case. Individual A entered the Rural King and purchased a .38 caliber Taurus Model 66 revolver as instructed. Individual A prepared a Firearms Transaction Record form under penalty of perjury stating that the individual was the actual purchaser of the firearm. However, Individual A knew that Lovellette was the actual buyer of the firearm. Following the purchase of the firearm, Individual A, Lovellette, and Apple met at a gas station and Individual A transferred the firearm to Lovellette.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. The United States Attorney’s Office has prosecuted this case with support from the following Project Guardian partners: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Indiana State Police, and Vincennes Police Department.
For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Matthew B. Miller, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Defendants each face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In October 2017, United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced a Strategic Plan designed to shape and strengthen the District’s response to its most significant public safety challenges. This prosecution demonstrates the office’s firm commitment to partner with federal and local law enforcement agencies to prosecute individuals committing violent crimes involving firearms. See United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Indiana Strategic Plan Section 2.3.