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Pair sentenced in flea market gun sales case

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By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

HARRISONBURG -- Two men convicted in connection with illegal gun sales at the Front Royal Flea Market received relatively light sentences Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Charles William Shipe, 67, formerly of 937 Pouts Hill Road, Strasburg, was ordered to spend six months behind bars on each of two counts being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy to sell a firearm to someone he knew was a convicted felon. The sentences are to run concurrently, according to online court records.

After he gets out, Shipe is to serve two years of post-release supervision, with six months of that time on house arrest, court records say.

Also sentenced Thursday was Ricky Saretta Foster, 59, of 535 Camp Mosby Road, Stanley, who received a 30-day jail sentence for selling a firearm that was in interstate commerce to a convicted felon. He, too, must be on supervision for two years, with six months of home confinement, according to court records.

Both men are allowed to turn themselves in to serve their sentences, records indicate.
They pleaded guilty last spring, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Huber filed motions asking for them to receive shorter sentences than guidelines called for because of the substantial assistance they provided in the investigation.

Foster and Shipe were arrested in connection with illegal firearms sales to undercover informants at the flea market.

According to court records, one informant bought an assault rifle and bayonet from Shipe and told him he wasn't allowed to have a gun because he was a convicted felon.

"Shipe responded, 'Not if they don't catch you with it,'" the statement says.

Foster was involved in a similar transaction, according to court records. An informant buying a gun told Foster he was convicted of a felony 20 years ago, the statement says.
"'Well, you can pay me for it, but you didn't get it from me,'" it quotes Foster as saying. "'You ain't gotta worry about me, you're in the bank with me, I don't even know you. I don't know your name and don't tell me.'"

Shipe's business partner, Don Francis Simonpietri, 64, of 9503 Stonewall Jackson Highway, Front Royal, is scheduled to be sentenced June 21. He pleaded guilty last month to one count of knowingly selling a firearm to a convicted felon and one count of selling firearms without a license.

Authorities seized nearly 1,200 guns from Simonpietri's home and pawn shop at 528 S. Royal Ave.

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