LOWELL — A convicted Lowell felon who advertised as selling guns on social media platform Snapchat was sentenced in federal court last week to seven years in prison.
Police found a loaded assault rifle and a handgun in the School Street apartment of 31-year-old Juan Aparicio after he listed a variety of firearms for sale on Snapchat in 2019 and 2020 , according to a press release from the office of U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins.
Due to the discovery, Aparicio pleaded guilty in February to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. In addition to the seven-year prison sentence, the statement said U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris sentenced Aparicio to three years of probation.
“There are very strict requirements regarding the legal buying and selling of any firearm,” Rollins said in the statement. “Convicted felons like Mr. Aparicio are strictly prohibited from possessing firearms in any way, which obviously includes trying to sell them on Snapchat.”
A criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court says Lowell police began investigating Aparicio in June 2019, believing he was trafficking firearms.
The criminal complaint shows that Aparicio had a long criminal history. He had been convicted of several counts dating back to 2009, including assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, breach of a restraining order and intimidation, and had served time behind bars.
The statement from Rollins’ office says that due to previous convictions that led to more than a year in prison, Aparicio was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition.
In June 2019 and January 2020, the criminal complaint states that Aparicio posted several videos on Snapchat offering to sell guns, including videos that clearly show his face. In a series of videos, the criminal complaint says Aparicio is holding a gun while pointing the gun at the camera. A still from the video shown in the complaint shows a caption on the image that reads, “I dare my girlfriend to say she wants a girls night out.”
A search warrant for Aparicio’s apartment in the 200 block of School Street was executed by police on January 6, 2020, the date the criminal complaint says detectives found a Ruger rifle loaded with a 25-round magazine and an empty Glock handgun.
“Illegal gun trafficking is a serious threat to our communities,” said James Ferguson, special agent in charge of the Boston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “ATF’s Boston Division will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to target firearms traffickers and remove them from our communities.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Evan Panich and Charles Dell’Anno of Rollins’ office prosecuted the case.
Aparicio’s attorney, Christopher Malcom, was not immediately available for comment.
Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis.