By Associated Press - Friday, February 26, 2021

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Five Rhode Island men have been indicted on charges connected to their alleged roles in an illegal gun sales scheme that distributed almost 90 weapons, the state attorney general’s office said.

Rashaan Mangum, 29, is alleged to have bought 89 handguns from dealers throughout Rhode Island using false information and then selling them to people not allowed to have guns and without proper paperwork between June 2019 and last August, according to a statement from Attorney General Peter Neronha’s office.

Four others are alleged to have conspired or solicited Mangum to purchase the handguns.

The so-called straw purchase of a gun is a crime when someone buys a gun on behalf of another in order to avoid federal and state background checks designed to keep firearms out of the hands of convicted felons barred by law from possessing them.

The five suspects face a total of 38 charges. Four are in custody and one is being sought.

A voicemail seeking comment was left with Mangum’s attorney.

“We know that illegal firearms are a critical driving factor in violent crime in Rhode Island, which is why my office and our partners in law enforcement have made a concerted effort to make these cases,” Neronha said.

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