Canterbury Man Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Possessing Machineguns and Other Firearms

Canterbury Man Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Possessing Machineguns and Other Firearms

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ANDRES VASQUEZ, 35, of Canterbury, was sentenced today by U.S. Circuit Judge Sarah A.L. Merriam in Bridgeport to nine months of imprisonment, followed by 18 months of supervised release, for illegally possessing machineguns and other firearms.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on April 28, 2020, federal agents executed a search warrant at an apartment in New Britain and seized drugs, drug paraphernalia, a 9mm handgun, and ammunition.  Analysis of the seized handgun and a review of firearm records revealed that the handgun was registered to Vasquez and had not been reported stolen, and that Vasquez had several other firearms registered to him.

On June 5, 2020, a search of Vasquez’s Canterbury residence revealed five semi-automatic rifles, three handguns, two machineguns bearing no serial numbers, additional un-serialized firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, and drug paraphernalia.  When interviewed by investigators, Vasquez admitted that, in addition to purchasing firearms, he built machineguns and other firearms.  After searching the residence, investigators determined that four other firearms registered to Vasquez were missing.

Vasquez was a heroin user when he was in possession of the firearms.  The firearm seized on April 28, 2020, was found in an apartment connected to Vasquez’s heroin dealer, and another firearm registered to Vasquez was found on January 1, 2022, in the possession of a Hartford man who is charged with federal firearm possession and crack cocaine distribution offenses.  Three of Vasquez’s registered firearms have not been recovered.

Vasquez was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on December 14, 2020.  On July 20, he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of firearms by a user of a controlled substance.

Vasquez, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on January 5.

This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Connecticut State Police, with the assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel M. Krull through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  In May 2021, the Justice Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: Fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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