Woman Charged with Gun Smuggling in Derby Line
BURLINGTON, VT – A Florida woman was indicted Friday on charges of smuggling firearms into Canada from Vermont. The woman, Annette Wexler, 46, allegedly used the Haskell Free Library in Derby Line for the operation.The Haskell Library straddles the international border and can be accessed by both U.S. and Canadian residents without going through customs.The U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont says a federal grand jury, sitting in Burlington, charged Wexler, of Gibsonton, Florida, with various firearms offenses. The charges include conspiracy to make false statements to firearms dealers when purchasing firearms, illegally exporting firearms to Canada, and dealing firearms without a license. The indictment alleges that Wexler knowingly transported an illegal alien into Vermont. Wexler has denied all charges. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy released Wexler on personal recognizance.The indictment says Wexler and a conspirator bought numerous handguns from multiple licensed gun dealers in Florida from July 2010 to April 2011. When the guns were purchased, Wexler and her conspirator falsely stated on the ATF forms they were the true owners of the firearms when they were actually purchasing these firearms on behalf of a Canadian conspirator.According to the indictment, Wexler and another person traveled to Derby Line with multiple firearms and transferred them to the Canadian at the Haskell Free Library on March 25, 2011.“The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty,” states a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice. If convicted, Wexler faces ten years in prison. The U.S. is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Perella. Wexler is represented by Nancy Waples of Burlington, Vermont.This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations of the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Surete du Quebec provided assistance in this investigation.