Straw Purchaser Bought Guns in Exchange for Heroin: DA

One of the illegally transferred guns was used in an October 2012 shooting

By Lauren DiSanto
|  Thursday, Feb 14, 2013  |  Updated 3:47 PM EDT
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Straw Purchaser Bought Guns in Exchange for Heroin: DA

Philadelphia District Attorney's Office

Luke Dercole, 32, of Northeast Philadelphia

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A Northeast Philadelphia man is arrested for buying several guns for a teenager, in exchange for drugs, according to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

Luke Dercole, 32, of the 6400 block of Lawndale Avenue, was arrested Wednesday night. Philadelphia Police were working on a narcotics investigation last month when they found the guns inside a Northeast Philadelphia home and traced them back to purchases made by Dercole.

Police say Dercole admitted buying four guns for 16-year-old Michael Burak in exchange for heroin.

The teen allegedly used one of those guns to shoot 20-year-old Jonathan Espinoza in October of 2012, according to the District Attorney's Office. Espinoza survived the shooting.

Burak (pictured right) is being charged as an adult for attempted murder.

Dercole is facing a long list of charges in connection with the straw purchases, including illegal transfer, firearm not to be carried with a license and corruption of a minor. He's being held on $500,000 bail.

In 2012, there were 324 homicides in Philadelphia. 85% of them were committed with handguns. "Not one of those homicides was committed by a person that lawfully possessed the handgun," said Williams.

Since Dercole's straw purchases were made before December 2012, he won't face the mandatory prison sentence of five years under House Bill 898, otherwise known as the "Brad Fox Law."
 

 


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