In Austin today, 70-year-old former Williamson County Judge Timothy L. Wright, of Georgetown was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license and making false statements to a Government agent announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Aristides Jimenez.
In addition to the prison term, United States District Judge Sam Sparks ordered that Wright pay a $15,000 fine and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.
On May 28, 2015, Wright pleaded guilty to a superseding information charging one count of engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license and one count of false statements to Government agents. By pleading guilty, Wright admitted that beginning in June of 2014, he sold in excess of sixty firearms without a federal firearms license (FFL). Dozens of those firearms were sold to two individuals who were illegally smuggling the firearms into Mexico.
In September 2014, Wright was told by ATF that he needed an FFL in order to engage in the business of selling firearms. Wright agreed to cease and desist all sales until he had his FFL. Wright applied for his FFL and received training on the responsibilities of an FFL, including the prohibition of selling firearms to individuals with felony convictions. After being confronted by ATF and agreeing to cease all sales, but before beginning to act as a licensed dealer, Wright conducted a firearm sale in December 2014 during which he fraudulently filled out an ATF form at a licensed firearms dealer stating he was the actual buyer of two Glock firearms. In truth, Wright had already received payment from a buyer for those two Glocks and falsely indicated on the ATF form that he was not buying the guns for another person.
After he became a licensed dealer, on three separate occasions in February 2015, a person who Wright knew was a convicted felon met with Wright and another person while Wright conducted firearm sales. When Wright was interviewed by an ATF agent about his firearm selling activity, Wright falsely told the agent he had not sold any firearms from the time he applied for his FFL until the time he began selling as a licensed dealer. In fact, Wright had sold a firearm in December during that time period and, in addition to falsely filling out the ATF paperwork as described above, Wright even created false paperwork for his internal records with a false sale date of August 2014 intending to conceal the actual sale date.
Wright also falsely told agents that he did not allow a convicted felon to be present during firearm sales when in fact he allowed the convicted felon to be present and also allowed the felon to handle the firearms during those transactions.
“While sworn to uphold the law, Judge Timothy Wright repeatedly violated federal laws governing the sale of firearms. He sold dozens of firearms without license, many of which went to people smuggling them to Mexico. He falsified official firearms records to hide the true identity of the real buyer and then lied to federal investigators about his crimes. These are serious crimes for which he has been held accountable,” stated United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
According to ATF Houston Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder, “Thankfully, arrests and convictions of elected public officials is a rare event. Nevertheless, the sentencing today of Timothy Wright highlights the fact that ATF always has, and will continue, to prosecute individuals who violate federal firearms laws. The ripple effect of putting an untold number of firearms into Mexico is impossible to gauge, so it is imperative that we remain vigilant on all fronts.”
“Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to individuals who facilitate the illegal sale and movement of weapons and related items. Combatting weapons smuggling is a top priority for Homeland Security Investigations,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge, Aristides Jimenez, HSI San Antonio. “Through collaborative law enforcement with our federal, state and local partners, we aggressively investigate individuals involved in these practices, regardless of their status or position and prevent weapons from falling into the hands of drug cartels and other transnational criminal organizations.”