A 33-year-old Lawndale man on Monday was sentenced to 2 to 14 years in prison for buying four guns for his 16-year-old drug dealer.
Luke Dercole of the 6400 block of Lawndale Avenue had been convicted in February of straw purchasing several guns for the teen, according to the District Attorney’s office.
A straw purchaser commits several criminal offenses by legally buying weapons for someone who is barred from owning those weapons.
“The fact that a grown man bought four different guns for a 16-year-old is unfathomable,” DA Seth Williams said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “That coupled with the harsh reality that the teen used one of the guns to shoot another young man only cements the need for tougher penalties for straw purchasers in Pennsylvania.”
Dercole pleaded guilty to straw purchasing the guns for 16-year-old Michael Burak.
The DA said Dercole bought the guns on four different occasions. On Oct. 28, 2012, Burak used one of the guns to shoot a 20-year-old man on the 1200 block of Van Kirk Street. The victim survived. Burak pleaded guilty and is serving a 4-to-8-year state prison sentence.
The DA’s office said police were led to Burak and Dercole while investigating a Frankford Avenue home where they found a semiautomatic pistol. Police were able to determine the gun was one of four purchased by Dercole in October 2012. Interviewed by police, according to the DA’s office, Dercole admitted he bought the guns for Burak in exchange for packages of heroin.
Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wellbrock of the Gun Violence Task Force prosecuted the case. Judge Earl Trent Jr. sentenced Dercole. ••