BOSTON – A Connecticut man was sentenced today in federal court in Springfield in connection with stealing 17 firearms from a West Springfield gun shop and making false statements to federal agents.
Christian Castro, 31, of New Britain, Conn., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release. On May 14, 2021, Castro pleaded guilty to one count each of theft of a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee; being a felon in possession of firearm; interstate transportation of a stolen firearm; receipt, possession, concealment, storage, barter, sale, or disposition of a stolen firearm in interstate commerce; and making false statements to a federal official.
Shortly after midnight on or about Aug. 29, 2020, Castro and co-defendant Fernando Rivera engaged in a crime spree in Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts that included seven ATM thefts or attempted thefts and culminated in the theft of 17 firearms from a federal firearms licensee in West Springfield. At the time of his offenses, Castro was on state probation and had two prior convictions in Connecticut for larceny and possessing narcotics with intent to distribute.
On Sept. 18, 2020, federal agents arrested Castro and Rivera at their homes in Connecticut. During his interview with investigators, Castro admitted that he drove to and from several ATM robberies and the gun store robbery, but falsely stated he never received, kept or even touched any of the stolen guns. However, during a search of Rivera’s phone, investigators learned that Castro had received at least one of the stolen firearms and that he and Rivera traveled to New York City to sell at least three others to another felon whom Castro had met in a Connecticut prison.
On May 5, 2021, Rivera pleaded guilty to similar charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 5, 2021.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and James Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Boston Field Division made the announcement. Special assistance was provided by the Massachusetts State Police; Springfield, Hadley, West Springfield, New Britain (Conn.) and Middletown (Conn.) Police Departments; Connecticut State Police; Connecticut Department of Correction; and Connecticut Judicial Branch Adult Probation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven H. Breslow of Mendell’s Springfield Branch Office prosecuted the case.