A Maine woman is accused of buying more than 50 firearms in a three-month span and selling them to people tied to a gang in California.

Jennifer Scruggs, 35, of Turner, was arrested Monday and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with 10 counts of making a false statement while buying the guns from licensed dealers. Each count carries a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines.

A defense attorney who was appointed to Scruggs’ case was not available to discuss the charges Tuesday afternoon, her office said. In an email Tuesday night, the attorney said she had no comment on the case.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Scruggs lied to gun dealers in Turner, Auburn and Whitefield when she purchased 55 guns between March 20 and June 17, 2022, by telling them she was the “actual buyer,” meaning she had no intentions of buying the guns for someone else.

But a Lewiston police officer said Facebook messages and interviews showed gang members from Los Angeles were sending her a list of the exact models they wanted and arranged for Scruggs to take a rental car from Portland to California to deliver the weapons. License plate readers showed Scruggs in a rental car, reserved from Avis in Portland on June 18, 2022, at various points between Maine and California.

All of the guns she bought matched those lists, court records say, in addition to a 12-gauge shotgun. Scruggs sent the gang members pictures of cash on the counter of one gun store she visited, G3 Firearms in Turner.


She also wrote that she had to obtain a hunting and fishing license to meet a government ID requirement because her other ID had a post office box for an address. She explained to them at one point that there was “so much red tape.”

The affidavit doesn’t name anyone other than Scruggs.

Los Angeles police recovered one of the guns after investigating a complaint that someone discharged the firearm into the air multiple times, reportedly yelling “crypts,” an apparent reference to the Crips, a Los Angeles-based street gang. Using the serial number, they were able to trace the gun back to J.T. Reid’s Gunshop, where Scruggs bought guns on May 10, 2022.

Los Angeles police would later recover another gun that was traced to Scruggs in February.

Scruggs originally told officers she was buying so many guns because “she does not trust banks” and “it was her belief that firearms will hold value better than cash in a bank.” She also said the trip to California was for her boyfriend’s job to replace the floor tile in a suburban family’s bathroom.

During her third interview with police in August, she admitted to the scheme, according to court records.

Scruggs had her first appearance in court on Monday and remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

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