McAllen man faces federal charge in rifle straw purchase

McALLEN — A man here faces federal straw purchase charges after prosecutors allege he lied when he said he was the intended owner of a 50-caliber rifle he purchased in the spring of 2018, records show.

John Michael Herston was scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez Thursday related to his indictment on one count of lying on a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives firearm 4473 form, records show.

According to the unsealed indictment, Herston, 40, allegedly made a false statement on the aforementioned ATF form on April 5, 2018, at a local licensed firearm dealer in Edinburg when he purchased a .50 caliber Bushmaster rifle.

Herston allegedly falsely represented that he was the actual buyer of the rifle on the form — which statement “was intended and likely to deceive the federally licensed firearms dealer,” despite knowing the statement was false, and that Herston was not the actual buyer of the rifle, the document states.

The indictment was unsealed last December, and Herston was subsequently arrested and made his initial appearance in federal court on Jan. 10, 2020, court records show.

Since then, Herston has been free on a $15,000 bond, court documents show.

Herston pleaded not guilty to one count of importing, manufacturing firearms, on Jan. 13, 2020.

Jury selection is set for April 7, court notes show.