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05/31/2011

Convicted weapons dealer sentenced to federal prison

Defendant stashed firearms in storage facility near Canadian border

Convicted weapons dealer sentenced to federal prison
Convicted weapons dealer sentenced to federal prison

SEATTLE – A resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, convicted on weapons charges and for lying to federal border officers was sentenced to six years and 10 months in federal prison, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Oliver King, who is also known as Hamid Malekpour, 35, was ordered to serve three years of supervised release at the end of his prison sentence. A federal jury convicted King in January of unlawful dealing in firearms, being a non-immigrant alien in possession of firearms, and three counts of making false statements to a government agency.

ICE HSI Agents arrested King on May 19, 2010, in Ferndale, Wash., after King traveled from Canada to McMinnville, Ore., and back to Ferndale over a two-day period. At the time of his arrest, he had 21 weapons in his possession

According to testimony at trial and court documents, King repeatedly lied to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers when he entered the United States from Canada. For example, on May 18, 2010, King said he was coming to the United States to pick up his wife at a store in Bellingham, Wash.

Instead, he drove to McMinnville, Ore., where he picked up boxes of firearms and ammunition from McMinnville Hunting and Police Supply. He had established this business with a U.S. citizen, but hid his ownership role from regulators. As a non-immigrant alien, he is prohibited from possessing firearms. 

The next morning, King drove to a storage unit he maintained in Ferndale and unloaded the boxes of weapons and ammunition. He was met by HSI agents and arrested at the storage facility where 21 high-end firearms were seized.

"This prison sentence brings an end to an investigation that exposed international weapons trafficking and clear violations of federal law. The defendant is no longer in a position to illegally traffic in weapons and needlessly threaten the safety and security of the public," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Seattle. 

Prosecutors urged a lengthy sentence for King saying his actions put the public at serious risk. They wrote in the sentencing memo, "Firearms are dangerous and those that Mr. King was convicted of possessing are particularly lethal. The possession, purchase and sale of firearms are highly regulated for this reason. By scheming to obtain, possess and deal in this type of firearms, across international borders, Mr. King's actions put the public at risk, and a lengthy sentence is necessary to protect the public, in the United States and abroad, from further crimes of the defendant."

ICE HSI was joined by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives in this investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Susan Roe and Matthew Diggs.