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Gun trafficker sentenced to 2 years

ATLANTA - A 34-year-old Lawrenceville man was sentenced to federal prison Thursday for his role in an illegal pipeline of firearms between Atlanta and Boston.

Chien Dinh Nguyen will serve two and a half years for gun-related charges for his role in an underground weapons-purchasing operation. A jury found him guilty of the charges Dec. 31.

Nguyen's brother-in-law - Nguyen Van Nguyen, 34, of Randolph, Mass. - received a harsher punishment of nearly 16 years in prison for his role.

The latter Nguyen was subject to the federal mandatory minimum of 15 years because his prior record qualified him as a career criminal, authorities said.

According to court documents, the Nguyens were responsible for the illegal "straw" purchase - meaning they employed someone to buy guns for them - of 23 guns.

An informant told federal authorities he purchased firearms for the Nguyens starting in April 2006 from a metro Atlanta pawn shop. Van Nguyen then transported the firearms to Boston "to unlawfully distribute (the weapons) to others," authorities said.

A weapon involved in the case was later recovered in Boston during the investigation of a suspected gang-related shooting, said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias.