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Published: Monday, November 18, 2019 @ 7:32 AM
BUTLER COUNTY — A St. Clair Twp. man was released on his own recognizance while awaiting a federal grand jury to consider a charge of making a false statement regarding firearms, including one that was allegedly used to kill Dayton Police Detective Jorge Del Rio, according to the U.S. Attorney Southern District Ohio office.
Delano Wells, 50, of the 1800 block of Wayne Madison Road, waived his right to a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, and the case was sent directly to a grand jury by Magistrate Judge Sharon L. Ovington.
According to court documents, Wells is accused of lying on forms when he purchased firearms at a Madison Twp. gun shop.
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.
Three firearms were found during the investigation into the shooting at the Ruskin Road home, including two pistols with extended magazines, loaded with armor-piercing ammunition and equipped with laser sights. One of the FNS-7 firearms was located on the basement floor, and the other was on the hip of one of the men in the residence, according to court documents.
The third firearm, an AR-style weapon, was found in the storage area underneath the basement staircase.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced the purchase of one pistol to Aug. 29 and the other to Sept. 9. Wells allegedly purchased all three firearms, along with additional firearms.
ATF special agents visited the Wells residence within hours of the shooting to talk with him about the gun purchases. According to court documents, Wells said he bought several guns in the past few months at Thompson’s Guns in the 7900 block of Hinkle Road. He said he had two guns and “the other firearms that he purchased recently were purchased for a friend.”
The court document refers to that person only as “A.M.”
Wells told the agents he had known A.M. for several years and he knew A.M. used to manage a gun store.
Wells told the agents that A.M. contacted him, usually via text message, and asked him to purchase firearms for him, according to court documents.
“Wells would then go online, find the best pricing he could for the firearms requested by A.M. and then order them. Wells admitted to paying for the firearms with his credit card. Wells would have the firearms sent to Thompson’s Guns. Wells would go to Thompson’s Guns, fill out an ATF form and pay a $10 transfer fee ...” according to court document filed in Wells’ case.
Then Wells arranged to meet with A.M. He was paid cash for the guns by A.M. with a profit of $25 to $30 per weapon.
Wells told agents A.M. did not have a criminal past, to his knowledge.
“He (Wells) thought that A.M. was trying to avoid drawing attention to himself by purchasing so many firearms,” the agents said.
Aaron Durden is listed as the attorney for Wells, and an attempt to reach him for comment last week was unsuccessful.
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.
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 in prison and the death penalty, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
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.