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Akwesasne man tried to sell smuggled gun in Massena, court documents say

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MASSENA — An Akwesasne man admitted Thursday in federal court that he smuggled a gun into the United States from Canada with the intent to sell it here.

Gavin Papequash, age not available, who now resides in the Quebec portion of Akwesasne, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Albany, to illegal importation of a firearm, the lone count against him contained in a grand jury indictment unsealed in court in January.

According to court documents, Mr. Papequash traveled from Snye, Que., to St. Lawrence County on May 22, 2012 without reporting his entrance into the country at a designated port of entry.

The purpose of the trip was to sell a Ruger Mini-30 automatic firearm with 20 rounds of ammunition, although the potential buyer actually was an undercover officer.

Officers with a Canadian smuggling task force observed Papequash leave Snye and followed him to the U.S. border and saw him cross into the American side of the transborder reservation.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security agents then observed him traveling to a parking lot at an unspecified location in Massena. He then sold the gun to the undercover officer, according to court documents.Papequash is due to be sentenced April 25 in Albany. He faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, court documents show. He also will be ordered to forfeit the gun.

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