A 41-year-old U.S. man was sentenced on Weds, Mar 23 to 64 months in prison for charges related to drug possession and the illegal resale of firearms. Phillip Mahe Taufa, of Roosevelt, Utah, admitted in court that he had sold over 50 firearms outside of the state while lying about being a federally licensed firearm dealer, and that a portion of over 10 lbs. of marijuana he bought from an unnamed darknet market was to be resold locally.
Federal agents executed a search warrant at Taufa’s residence on Nov 9, 2021 where they found “43 firearms, ammunition, over 10 pounds of marijuana, and THC cartridges.” Taufa told the court he was a regular smoker of marijuana but also that he “intended to distribute portions of the marijuana to others,” and that he had received it in the mail after purchasing it off the dark web.
Taufa purchased the weapons from federally licensed firearms dealers and individual sellers in Utah between Feb and Nov 2021 and then resold them in Nevada and California, charging double what he paid for them, while failing to obtain the proper licensure for resale. He was also said to have lied to the firearms dealers about his licensure status during the purchases.
Taufa’s trial was scheduled to begin in April of last year but was delayed for over three months on grounds of “protecting the health of the public during a deadly pandemic,” which the court ruled was more important the defendant’s rights to a speedy trial. His 5 and 1/3-year sentence will be followed by a term of supervised release for three years and a special assessment fine of $600.
Agencies involved in the investigation include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the Roosevelt Police Department.