— Darius Fields, 27, of Dallas,
Texas was found guilty Wednesday following a three-day trial before Chief U.S.
District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn for aiding and abetting the false statement to
a federally licensed firearms dealer to acquire a firearm, commonly called
“lying-and-buying” or making a “straw purchase,” announced U.S. Attorney Erin
Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.
Fields was convicted on one count of acquiring
a firearm from a licensed firearms dealer by false or fictitious statement, one
count of false statement with respect to information required to be kept in
records of a licensed firearms dealer, and one count of convicted felon in
possession of a firearm and ammunition. Fields faces a maximum statutory
penalty of 25 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. He has been in
custody since his arrest in July 2017. A sentencing date will be set by
the court in the near future.
According to evidence presented at trial, Fields, a convicted felon who was
being sought as a person of interests in a state kidnapping investigation, was
found at a motel in Irving on the night of June 29, 2017. When the police
made contact with Fields at the motel, they smelled the odor of marijuana and
entered the room for a protective sweep. There, they found Fields’
girlfriend and co-defendant, LaPorshya Polley, emerging from the bathroom after
attempting to flush marijuana down the toilet. They also observed a box
of ammunition in plain view on a desk. Using flashlights, the police also
observed a partially concealed AK-47 weapon in the back of a black Honda Accord
parked directly in front of Fields’ motel room. The police then secured a
search warrant for the motel room and the Honda Accord.
Inside the motel room, according to evidence presented, the police seized the
box of ammunition, a small amount of marijuana, two cell phones belonging to
Fields, and approximately $5,000 in cash. They also found a loaded FNH
pistol—with a round in the chamber and the safety in the “fire” position—in
Polley’s bag of clothing. In the Honda Accord, the police seized a loaded
AK-47 pistol. Polley had purchased both weapons. The police, in
fact, discovered that Polley had recently purchased the FNH pistol from DFW Gun
Range in Dallas. The police obtained security video recordings of
Polley’s purchase from the gun dealer. The recording depicted a classic
“straw purchase” of the firearm, as it showed Fields and Polley arriving
together at the gun dealer, but walking in at different times to act as if they
weren’t together. The video also showed Fields and Polley ignoring one
another and acting as if they were not together. Finally, the video
showed Fields monitoring Polley’s interaction with the gun salesman, and once
Fields observed that Polley was wrapping up the purchase he walked back out to
the car and waited for Polley. Text messages found on one of Fields’ cell
phones showed that after Polley purchased the pistol, but before she left the
gun dealer, she texted Fields about the type of ammunition that he wanted for
the weapon. Lastly, when Polley walked out of the gun dealer with the FNH
pistol and ammunition and got inside the car driven by Fields, Fields waited
before driving off—reflecting that he was examining Polley’s purchase.
When Polley purchased the FNH pistol—which she paid approximately $1,400 in
cash—she stated on the transaction record that she was buying the pistol for
herself and not for anyone else.
Fields contended that the firearms and
ammunition found by the police were for Polley and that he did not knowingly
possess them. He also contended that Polley purchased the FNH pistol for
herself and not for him and, therefore, she did not lie to DFW Gun Range or put
false information in the gun dealer’s records. On Fields’ cell phones,
the police discovered numerous pictures of Fields displaying firearms and two
videos of Fields shooting firearms at a gun range in February 2017. The
court permitted the government to introduce this evidence as it shed light on
Fields’ knowledge and intent. Fields, however, countered that the
pictures of him displaying guns were “prop” guns, not real ones, and a defense
witness even incredulously claimed that the videos of Fields shooting at the
gun range depicted “blank guns”—even though the video showed bullets striking
the dirt behind the targets.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Irving Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gary Tromblay and Camille Sparks prosecuted.