CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

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

Oct 14, 2020, 6:07 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:22 am

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.

Crime, Police + Courts

police cars...

Mariah Maynes

SLCPD identify two killed in workplace shooting

Salt Lake City Police Department said they have identified two men who were killed in a workplace shooting on Sunday. 

4 hours ago

police cars...

Mark Jackson

Two men dead in Salt Lake workplace shooting

One man was found inside the building, another outside. Police don’t believe there’s an imminent threat.

21 hours ago

Former Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Scot Peterson shown, a school arming school staff is aw...

Curt Gresseth

Utah lawmaker discusses arming school workers

Arming school workers will lead to safer schools, says a Utah lawmaker whose bill awaits the governor's pen to become law.

3 days ago

Bountiful police car...

JOSH ELLIS KSLTV.com

One man dead after shooting in Bountiful

Officers in Bountiful arrived on the scene and found a man in his 20s with a gunshot wound. The man later died at the hospital.

4 days ago

execution chamber in idaho prison...

Associated Press

Idaho halts execution by lethal injection after 8 failed attempts to insert IV line

Thomas Eugene Creech Creech, one of the longest-serving death row inmates in the U.S., was wheeled into the execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on a gurney at 10 a.m.

5 days ago

Ruby Franke stands with her attorney, Lamar Winward, at her sentencing on Tuesday. Her brother and ...

Jessica Lowell

Ruby Franke and Jodi Hildebrandt transferred to Utah State Correctional Facility

The two women will each spend one to 15 years at the facility for child abuse.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

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