NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


December 7, 2000 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

ATTORNEY GENERAL CURRAN CHARGES TWO IN STRAW PURCHASE OF A HANDGUN

Baltimore - Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr., announced today that charges were filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court against Leonard James Fields, 2602 Beryl Avenue, Baltimore, and Angela Sonya Anderson, 2429 Wilgery Court, Baltimore, in connection with their straw purchase of a handgun. Fields was charged with conspiracy to participate in a straw purchase and illegal possession of a handgun by a prohibited person. Fields is prohibited from possessing a handgun as a result of his prior convictions for second degree assault in 1998 and transporting a handgun in a vehicle in 1996. In addition, he was charged in Howard County with providing false information on an application to purchase a handgun and perjury on an application he made just three weeks earlier, in which he represented that he was not prohibited from possessing a handgun. Anderson was charged with conspiracy to participate in a straw purchase and illegal transfer of a handgun to a prohibited person. She was charged in Howard County with providing false information on an application to purchase a handgun and perjury in connection with an application that she signed dated August 24.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to participate in a straw purchase is 10 years and up to a $25,000 fine. The maximum penalty for illegal transfer of a handgun is five years and up to a $10,000 fine. All individuals are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case was investigated by the Cease Fire Unit and Firearms Registration Section of the Maryland State Police and will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General, Criminal Investigation Division, in connection with a partnership the two agencies have formed to further efforts to combat illegal firearms trafficking.

"I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep guns out of the wrong hands," Attorney General Curran said. "35,000 people die from gunshot wounds each year in this country and the vast majority are preventable. The Attorney Generalís Office and the Maryland State Police will continue our joint enforcement effort to ensure that the wrong people arenít getting guns and that those who do are prosecuted."

###