Las Vegas man indicted for illegally buying hundreds of guns in Utah

Oct 14, 2020, 6:07 PM | Updated: 6:07 pm
guns utah...
(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – Federal prosecutors in Utah indict a Las Vegas man who reportedly lied to buy guns by the hundreds.  Investigators say those guns are connected to illegal drugs and murders in other states. 

Gregory Nelson is facing 11 charges, including making false statements during the acquisition of a firearm, dealing in firearms without a license and travel within the US with intent to violate federal law.  Prosecutors say Nelson had driven from Las Vegas to Utah to buy weapons, then lied on his ATF application.

John Huber, the US Attorney for Utah, says, “He has to say, ‘I’m purchasing this gun for me.’  He promises, under penalty of the law, that’s the truth.”

However, Huber says Nelson was actually a straw buyer who would then resell the guns to other people.  Nelson reportedly bought 283 weapons in 2020, with 171 of them being purchased just between July and August.  Investigators first got wind of this alleged plot when gun store operators told authorities about Nelson’s suspicious purchases.

“When you see 147 guns of the same type and style, those assigns to firearms licensees, the businessmen and women [that make them think], ‘Oh, that seems a little bit odd,’” Huber says.

Investigators say Nelson spent roughly $176 thousand on these weapons, and they believe that’s a conservative estimate.

Huber adds, “What really brings our attention to this… the ‘red flag’ here is the ‘time to crime.’”

That means the guns were purchased then used in possible crimes in a very short amount of time.  In one case, Huber says a firearm was found at a crime scene in California just two days after Nelson reportedly bought it.

“We have 19 guns recovered in California in criminal investigations, including homicide investigations.  The time between those guns being purchased and being recovered at crime scenes is short,” Huber says.

Some of the crimes Nelson’s guns are reportedly connected to include:

  • A DEA narcotics investigation in California on August 27th.
  • A murder investigation in Walnut Creek, CA, on July 7th
  • A double-homicide investigation in East Palo Alto, CA, on August 2nd

Huber says each count of making a false state during the acquisition of a firearm carries a potential sentence of 10 years in federal prison, but he doesn’t believe the judge will stack those sentences.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories


police car at scene of tooele shooting...
Samantha Herrera

Residents shelter-in-place in Tooele as SWAT situation unfolds

The city is asking people to avoid the area of Deer Hollow and advised that anyone sheltering in place stay in their basements.
16 hours ago
Real estate agents are being scammed in Utah on the housing app Zillow....
Hugo Rikard-Bell and Aimee Cobabe

Real estate agents, along with Utah residents, being scammed on Zillow

Utah officials say there are ten different cases of vacant lots or parcel listings fraudulently offered on Zillow.
16 hours ago
The Duchesne County Sheriff's Office says a suspect is in stable condition following an officer-inv...
Mark Jones

Suspect hospitalized after officer-involved shooting in Duchesne County

A suspect is in stable condition following an officer-involved shooting Monday night in Duchesne County.
2 days ago
a car is pictured it might have been involved in a provo hit-and-run...
Aimee Cobabe

Provo Police looking for information about two cars in deadly hit-and-run

Police are asking anyone with information about the hit-and-run to contact Provo Police Detective Smith at 
2 days ago
Samantha Herrera

Increased shoplifting puts pressure on retailers and raises prices

Shoplifting is hitting retailers hard this season. Though retailers lose millions in stolen merchandise, offenders usually go without much punishment.
2 days ago
A west valley police car is pictured. Police are investigating a hit and run...
Aimee Cobabe

Woman charged in February fatal car crash in West Valley City

A 30-year-old woman is in custody after West Valley City Police say she was the one behind the wheel of a car that caused a deadly crash in February.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Las Vegas man indicted for illegally buying hundreds of guns in Utah