Kent man pleads guilty to selling guns to those with criminal histories

Sold more than 100 firearms to those barred from possessing guns

Courtesy image, U.S. Department of Justice

Courtesy image, U.S. Department of Justice

A 31-year-old Kent man pleaded guilty to multiple firearms offenses for his purchase of more than 100 guns in a straw purchaser scheme.

Dion Jamar Cooper entered the plea last week in U.S. District Court in Seattle, according to a Feb. 20 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Cooper pleaded guilty to two counts of making a false statement in connection with the acquisition of firearms, one count of straw purchasing firearms and one count of trafficking in firearms.

Purchasing a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing one, or for someone who does not want his or her name associated with the transaction, is a straw purchase, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).

“Mr. Cooper lied on purchase forms and then trafficked more than 100 firearms on the streets of our community,” U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman said. “He trafficked to those who are prohibited from possessing guns, because of their criminal history. It is not surprising that more than two dozen of the firearms have been linked to crimes (in the Seattle area). Congress has responded to the epidemic of gun violence with new laws targeting such ‘straw purchasing’ and we are using them in this case.”

U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez scheduled sentencing for May 17. Straw purchasing of firearms and trafficking in firearms are both punishable by up to 15 years in prison, according to the DOJ. Making a false statement in connection with a firearms acquisition is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Cooper was arrested in April 2023 following an investigation by Seattle Police and the ATF.

According to the criminal complaint, the investigation began in January 2023, with the assault and attempted robbery of a woman in Rainier Valley in Seattle. The victim was able to flee in her car. Police found a firearm in her vehicle that had been dropped by one of the assailants.

A check of the firearm revealed it had been purchased by Cooper on Dec. 10, 2022. That recovery led the ATF to check Cooper’s purchase history. Cooper had purchased 107 firearms since June 2021. On 24 different instances he purchased multiple firearms - sometimes four or more. Of the 107 firearms identified as being purchased in this scheme, 26 of the guns have been recovered and linked to crimes.

During March and April 2023, agents surveilled Cooper as he made arrangements to purchase additional firearms. Agents identified De’ondre Lamontia Phillips, of Federal Way, as the person who drove Cooper to the gun shops where he purchased the firearms.

Phillips is prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms due to convictions for distribution of heroin (2014) and convictions for illegal firearms possession and two counts of assault (2009). Surveillance of the two revealed Cooper turning the firearms over to Phillips who stored them in his residence.

Phillips pleaded guilty in January to drug and gun possession crimes. He is scheduled for sentencing April 26.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

King County SWAT vehicle. Courtesy photo
Investigation concludes on SWAT team's fatal shooting of suspect in Algona

A multi-agency team has finished investigating the King County SWAT’s shooting of… Continue reading

A screenshot of the King County Sheriff’s Office Guardian One helicopter view of the arrest of a Kent man after carjacking incidents Feb. 13 in Kent. COURTESY IMAGE, King County Sheriff’s Office
Kent Police to join new Western Washington Carjacking Task Force

U.S. Department of Justice announces Seattle, Kent police departments as partners to reduce crime

Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla and his command staff will host a community meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at Highline College. COURTESY PHOTO, Kent Police
Kent Police set community meeting for May 9 at Highline College

Topics to include latest news, updates from Police Chief Rafael Padilla and his command staff

Sound Transit constructing giant bridge in Kent for light rail

Structure along I-5 stretches more than three football fields in length

Medical examiner identifies Kent man killed while lying in street

Tony Vento Houston, 63, died of multiple blunt force injuries after vehicle hit him

Kent historian, master gardener Nancy Simpson dies at age 80

Roles included Greater Kent Historical Society president; King County Landmarks commissioner

Kent man dies after collision with vehicle while lying in the street

Incident at about 4:06 a.m. Tuesday, April 16 at 132nd Avenue SE and SE 278th Street

Kent Police to offer teen academy for students in June

For high school students interested in law enforcement career

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO
No suspect yet in July 2023 Kent murder of Madeline Goldsmith

Someone fatally shot 18-year-old Kentwood High graduate as she sat in vehicle near Lake Meridian

Police bust mother, daughter in Kent for retail crime spree

Two reportedly joined one other woman in 3-state crime ring taking women’s clothing from Lululemon

Reith Road in Kent to get two new roundabouts this year

City Council approves $4.28 million bid; project to start in late May or early June

Puget Sound Fire's Teddy Bear Clinic set for May 18 in Kent

Annual event provides free checkups for teddy bears and children