Delano Wells, has been charged with lying on ATF forms to illegally purchase the firearm used in killing Dayton Police Detective and DEA Task Force Officer Jorge DelRio on Nov. 4.
Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Court docs: How a Butler County man lied to buy gun that killed Dayton detective Del Rio

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Delano Wells, 50, of Trenton has been charged with making false statements on a federal firearms form, according to the U.S. Attorney Southern District of Ohio’s Office.

Del Rio was part of a DEA task force that was serving a warrant on Ruskin Road in Dayton on Nov. 4, when he was shot twice in the head and critically injured. He died three days later. The entire region paid respects to the fallen officer at an emotionally charged memorial service held Tuesday at UD Arena, where he was remembered as a family man, star detective and American hero.

Three firearms were found during the police’s investigation into the shooting at the Ruskin Road home, including two pistols with extended magazines and AR-style weapons, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Wells allegedly purchased all three firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the purchase of one pistol to Aug. 29 and the other to Sept. 9.

MORE: Del Rio remembered as family man, star detective, American hero

Records indicate Wells bought at least six firearms online in August and September and picked them up at Thompson’s Guns in Middletown, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He reportedly told ATF agents he bought the guns for a friend. He allegedly was paid in cash for the cost of each firearm with a profit of $25 to $30 per weapon.

Wells is accused of lying on an ATF form for the purchase of each firearm by indicating that he was buying the guns for himself, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“The message we want to make loud and clear is that if you provide firearms to drug dealers and convicted felons you will be held responsible for their actions,” said U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers, who recently assumed the post following the resignation of Benjamin Glassman on Nov. 1. “There are significant sentencing enhancements for firearms provided by straw purchasers used to commit crimes and we will seek those enhancements to the fullest.”

Wells made his first court appearance Nov. 6. Additional court dates have not been scheduled at this time, according to DeVillers.

Aaron Durden is listed as the attorney for Wells and an attempt to reach him for comment on this story was unsuccessful.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said of the federal charges against Wells, “We appreciate the investigative initiative from the ATF and the support of the U. S. Attorney of the Southern District of Ohio for promptly accepting federal charges in this matter.”

Federal authorities have charged three suspects in the fatal shooting of Del Rio with some counts that carry punishments of up to life in prison and the death penalty.

MORE: Dayton officer shot: Suspects in Del Rio’s death are eligible for the death penalty

Suspect Nathan Goddard, 39, is facing charges of intentionally killing a law enforcement officer aiding a federal investigation and causing death using a firearm during a crime of violence or drug trafficking.

The other suspects, Cahke Cortner, 39, and Lionel Combs III, 40 have been charged with causing death through use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime or crime of violence, which is punishable by up to life behind bars and the death penalty, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

Goddard, Cortner and Combs have been charged with “death eligible” crimes, but federal authorities will decide later whether to pursue the death penalty, explained Vipal Patel, first assistant U.S. attorney, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio at a detention hearing for the suspects Nov. 9.

The charges against Goddard accuses him of shooting Del Rio, while the other two defendants are being charged under legal principles known as “felony murder,” Patel said.

MORE: Prosecutions for ‘lie and buy’ gun purchases have been rare

Cortner and Combs originally were charged with conspiring to distribute drugs and narcotics, but now they also face a charge of causing death through use of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime or crime of violence. The new charges are punishable up to life in prison and the death penalty.

Lawyers for Cortner and Combs say their clients were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and didn’t fire weapons at Del Rio.

MORE: U.S. Attorney Glassman to resign

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