Woman federally charged with illegally straw purchasing firearms for Minneapolis gang

Two of the guns she purchased have been recovered at crime scenes in the Twin Cities area where one or more victims were shot.

Tess Fair/Sherburne County Jail

An Eden Prairie woman was charged in federal court on Wednesday with illegally straw purchasing several firearms, some of which have been connected to a Minneapolis gang and also recovered from shooting crime scenes.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota states that Tess Fair, 21, illegally obtained 14 separate firearms at gun stores in the Twin Cities area through straw purchases.

A straw purchase is the illegal purchase of a firearm by one person for another person. This generally occurs when one party is prohibited from purchasing or obtaining firearms due to their criminal background. Another person who can pass a criminal background check then makes the purchase and gives the guns to the prohibited person.

According to court documents, between March 23, 2021, and July 10, 2021, Fair illegally purchased 13 9-millimeter semi-automatic handguns and one .22 caliber AR style pistol.

Surveillance video footage from one of the gun stores shows Fair purchasing a gun at the direction of another individual who is a documented member of the Minneapolis street gang Young and Thuggin’ (YNT). Two of the guns she purchased have been recovered at crime scenes in the Twin Cities area where one or more victims were shot, the charges state.

“Buying guns on behalf of someone else who is prohibited from possessing guns is a federal crime,” said Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk. “The straw buying process sets up a dangerous pipeline that too often puts firearms in the hands of criminals. Federal law enforcement is committed to interrupting that process.”

The case against Fair is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Minneapolis Police Department.

Minneapolis has tallied at least 50 homicides so far this year, and according to Minneapolis data, at least 360 people have been shot this year. During the same period last year, 293 people had been shot, and 170 for the same period in 2019.

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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota.