New Castle man faces federal firearms charges
Post Independent Staff
Thomas B. Gallagher, the owner of As You Wish Pools and Spas in Glenwood Springs, was arrested near New Castle Wednesday morning on federal firearms charges, as well as alleged drug and traffic violations.
Gallagher, 41, of New Castle was pulled over on the North Cutoff Road near New Castle by Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies just after he left his house.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said deputies knew a warrant was about to be served on Gallagher, so they knew of his whereabouts.
Prior to the bust, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office had received information that Gallagher was shooting an automatic rifle on his property, which prompted authorities to seek a search warrant for the property.
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Vallario said it was fortuitous that Gallagher left his house, because it’s easier to arrest someone for a traffic stop than while executing a warrant at their home.
“He left his house while we were getting ready to do that,” Vallario said. “He was just a couple of miles away.”
Around the same time Gallagher was being pulled over by deputies, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents and sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at Gallagher’s home on County Road 245.
Deputies placed a call to the ATF to determine if Gallagher had the proper license to possess automatic rifles. Records showed he had no license for automatic weapons. Because he was a previously convicted felon, he was prohibited from possessing any firearms.
When Gallagher was pulled over, deputies found suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his vehicle. He was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license, no proof of insurance, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The search of Gallagher’s home revealed a fully automatic rifle, six other firearms, conversion parts used to convert legal rifles into fully automatic rifles, and a large amount of ammunition. The firearms and ammunition were seized by ATF agents.
Possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon and possession of fully automatic weapons are criminal violations under state and federal law, according to the sheriff’s department.
After Gallagher was issued a summons for the traffic and marijuana violations, he was turned over to the custody of the ATF agents for prosecution in federal court, the news release said.
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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