Two men, one from Dorchester, one from Randolph, were indicted yesterday on a federal charge of conspiracy to deal in firearms without a license for the eight guns they allegedly bought from a Woburn gun dealer for re-sale, possibly to Boston gang members
According to court records, Levenson Merilus, 28, of Randolph, who had a license to carry, bought the guns between Feb. 23 and March 16 from Four Seasons Firearms - signing a statement each time that the guns were for his use and that he was not buying them to re-sell - and then handed seven of them over to Charles A. Slayden, Jr., 25, of Creston Street. Because of his signatures on the forms, Merilus was also charged with one count of making false statements to acquire firearms from a licensed dealer.
Slayden, who does not have a gun license, would sell them at a 100% markup - and split the profit 50/50 with Merilus - according to an affidavit by an ATF agent who worked on the investigation, who said that while Slayden told federal agents he didn't put any guns on the street, Merilus said he believed they were being sold to gang members.
Merilus, who agreed to work with federal agents after they caught up with him but before he and Slayden were formally charged, said he and Slayden would go to the gun dealer in separate cars. Merilus would then drive the gun back to Boston - if he were stopped, he could pull out his gun license - then hand it over to Slayden, who would obliterate the gun's serial number and sell it to a gang member.
The affidavit describes several of the purchases, based on Merilus's statements, text conversations from his phone and surveillance video at the gun shop - with the agent translating the textspeak into more conventional English:
Slayden told Merilus that if a prospective purchaser gave them $1,000 to buy two guns, and they could buy those two guns for $450, they could buy a third gun with the remainder and still have money left over. Slayden later indicated that if he collected $2,200 from prospective purchasers to purchase four guns, and could purchase those guns for $250 each, Slayden and Merilus would make $1,100 in profits to split. Slayden said that figure did not include two additional prospective customers. Merilus state that they needed to profit as much as possible in a short window of time, and that he wanted to pay no more than $350 per gun. ...
Merilus told me Slayden had suggested that Merilus purchase four firearms on February 26, 2019, because the aforementioned is his birthday and the purchase would not look suspicious. ...
On March 8, Slayden texted Merilus to say somebody had paid him $1,100 for two guns - and that he figured they could make a run up to Woburn to pick up a couple of guns for $600.
The next afternoon, Merilus, accompanied by Slayden, bought two Smith & Wesson Model M&P Shield 9-mm pistols. Merilus signed a Form 4473, on which he swore the guns were for his use and that he was not buying them for re-sale.
Merilus seemed resigned to his fate, the agent wrote:
Merilus told me he knew he would someday get caught because "nothing good lasts forever."
If convicted, the two face up to five years in federal prison, the US Attorney's office in Boston reports.