By: Danielle Hatch
Alexis Vlachos, 41, of Montreal, Quebec has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for smuggling over 104 handguns from the US to Canada between 2010 and 2011. Vlachos worked with Annette Wexler and Jaime Ruiz to create a scheme to purchase handguns in the US and then resell them in Canada. Wexler and Ruiz would purchase the guns from several firearms dealers in Florida (they made several misrepresentations about the nature of the purchases of the guns on the forms required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)). After the guns were purchased, Wexler and Ruiz would transport them from Florida to northeastern Vermont and northeastern New York where they would meet Vlachos and he would then take custody of them.
Some of the guns were brought to Haskell Free Library in Derby Line, Vermont because of it’s prime location of being on the border of Vermont and Quebec. Wexler and Ruiz hid the guns in small backpacks inside the trashcan of the library bathroom where Wexler would then go retrieve them and transport them into Quebec where he sold them. On another occasion the guns were driven to a remote section of northeastern Vermont near Lake Wallace where Vlachos hiked the firearms across the international border into Quebec.
In 2017, Annette Wexler pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to licensed gun dealers and unlawful exportation. She was sentenced to time served and 2 years of probation. Jamie Ruiz pled guilty to two offenses but passed away before he was sentenced and the charges against him were dismissed.
Vlachos was charged in 2015 but due to the extradition process, he was just now sentenced. In addition to his sentence he was fined $200 and the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has denied his export privileges for a period of 7 years.
Department of Justice Notice: https://www.justice.gov/usao-vt/pr/quebec-man-sentenced-51-months-imprisonment-smuggling-over-100-handguns-vermont-quebec#targetText=Vlachos%20previously%20pled%20guilty%20to,the%20Arms%20Control%20Export%20Act.&targetText=As%20part%20of%20the%20conspiracy,he%20sold%20many%20of%20them.