WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Thursday that a Luzerne county constable was charged for ‘straw purchasing’ 22 firearms for a convicted felon.

According to court documents, whenever handguns are sold or transferred it is Federal and Pennsylvania State to conduct a background check and the transaction must be conducted through a Federal Firearms Licensee or ‘FFL.”

Whenever purchases or transfers are done through an FFL and the firearm is then transferred to someone else, not using an FFL, this is referred to as a ‘straw purchase,’ or an intentional act to avoid a lawful purchase, court papers say.

“Court officers hold positions of public trust and we believe this defendant violated that public trust and broke the law by purchasing firearms for a convicted felon,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “There are serious consequences for straw purchasing, and our Gun Violence Section works every day with our local and federal law enforcement partners to follow up on these guns and hold straw purchasers accountable across Pennsylvania.”

Sydney Snelling, 48, Wilkes-Barre, was arrested, Thursday, April 28, and taken into custody by multiple teams. Law enforcement alleges Snelling illegally purchased more than 20 firearms for a convicted felon who is not legally allowed to possess a firearm.

Police said they also searched Snelling’s car and home and found nine more firearms, with ammo and outlaw motorcycle vests.

Our entire department is proud of the cooperation between the Attorney General’s Office and our detectives. We are relieved to have removed a criminal from the streets who held himself out as a member of law enforcement but had actually supplied firearms to drug traffickers and gang members. Our county is unquestionably safer as a result of this investigation and arrest.”

Luzerne County District Attorney Samuel Sanguedolce

“Snelling, a Pennsylvania Constable, allegedly breached the trust of the public he was elected to protect,” said William S. Walker, Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations’ Philadelphia Field Office.

Special Agent Walker explained that buying firearms for a convicted felon presents obvious dangers to local communities.

“When firearms are purchased on behalf of those who are prohibited from possessing them, it poses immense danger to the community,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division.

Officers say under state law, a person who straw purchases two or more firearms, such as Snelling faces the Brad Fox Mandatory Minimum sentence of 5 to 10 years in state prison.

Snelling was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Rick Cronauer setting her monetary bail at $1M. As Snelling was unable to post bail she was remanded to the Luzerne County Prison.

This investigation is ongoing and Eyewitness News will keep you updated as information becomes available.