BURLINGTON — A Chittenden County woman, who authorities say bought firearms and took them to New York, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Monday to providing false information to a Waterbury gun dealer during one acquisition in March.
Marissa A. Byrd, 29, of Burlington, was linked to the gun purchase after a search of a Plattsburgh, New York, home uncovered a 9 mm firearm that had been obtained at Parro’s Gun Shop, a federally licensed dealer, the court records show.
Byrd provided a false and misleading statement to Parro’s when she claimed on March 20 the handgun was for herself when she was actually buying it for someone else, the indictment stated. Authorities often refer to this kind of illegal firearm transaction as a “straw purchase.”
Byrd provided the 9 mm Taurus to Thomas Caves, who is a convicted felon, court records show. His criminal record includes felony convictions in Connecticut for burglary in 2019 and 2020, according to an affidavit filed by a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations.
It was 17 days after the purchase that officers from Plattsburgh Police and the New York State Parole Office seized the gun from Caves' home, court records show. Caves, 27, told Homeland Security investigators after the search that he had a source that had bought guns in Vermont two or three times and brought them to New York, court records show.
If convicted on the one count, Byrd faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
Magistrate Judge Kevin Doyle in Burlington agreed to release Byrd on conditions, including that she not have contact with witnesses, including Caves. Byrd also was ordered to refrain from drugs and excessive use of alcohol. She also was told to undergo substance abuse counseling, if so ordered by the Probation Office.
Defense lawyer David Kirby asked the court for 90 days to investigate the case and to file pre-trial motions. Doyle agreed to a Dec. 27 deadline.
Caves is facing a charge in the Northern District of New York as a felon in possession of a firearm. Caves remains jailed in New York after Magistrate Judge Gary L. Favro in Plattsburgh ruled he was both a danger to the community and a risk to flee, court records show.