A Vermont man who police believe ran a years-long operation, illegally selling handguns and AK-47-type assault rifles in New York, has been charged with seven felonies after a lengthy investigation by State Police.
Lance B. Lozier, 34, of Barre, faces a 10-count indictment that includes charges of criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. The charges allege he had three handguns he was transporting to a potential buyer in Washington County, as well as illegal hypodermic needles.
The indictment stemmed from a traffic stop on Route 4 in Whitehall last April 9, when State Police seized three handguns and a rifle that Lozier allegedly had brought over to New York from Vermont. The car was stopped because a front-seat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt.
Troopers found a .40-caliber handgun, 9mm handgun, .22-caliber revolver and Savage Arms .223-caliber rifle, court records show. None of the handguns was registered in New York.
The criminal sale of a firearm charge alleges that Lozier had agreed to sell one of the guns to a person in Washington County.
Police said Lozier legally purchased semiautomatic handguns and rifles in Vermont, then brought them to New York to sell to an acquaintance who brokered other gun deals. Among the rifles were guns that were assault-style rifles that are illegal under New York law.
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“Lozier admitted he had been selling guns in both Vermont and New York for one to two years and that included multiple AK-47 assault rifles as well as a variety of drugs,” State Police Investigator Kevin Reppenhagen wrote in a statement filed in Washington County Court records. “Lozier stated he would legally buy these guns in Vermont and then sell them to any interested buyers in New York and Vermont to make some money.”
Lozier does not have a federal firearms license to sell guns and no background checks were performed on the buyers as required by law, the charges allege.
State Police believe they have recovered the guns that were illegally sold in New York.
The man to whom Lozier allegedly sold the guns has not been charged, as he has cooperated with authorities. Police said the investigation was continuing, and additional charges and arrests were possible.
Lozier has pleaded not guilty and turned down a plea deal offer that included a guilty plea to one felony, a 3 1/2-year prison sentence and 2 years on parole.
He is free on bail, pending further court action. His lawyer, James Knox, did not return a phone call for comment Tuesday.