D.A.: Philly man traded guns for heroin with 16-year-old drug dealer

luke dercole and michael burak
Philadelphia Police Dept./ Luke Dercole, 32, and Michael Burak, 16.

A Northeast Philadelphia man was arrested last night for allegedly buying four guns for a 16-year-old reputed drug dealer in exchange for heroin, District Attorney Seth Williams announced today. Investigators said the teen then used one of those guns to shoot another man in Oxford Circle two months ago.

“The fact that a grown man bought four different guns for a 16-year-old is unfathomable,” Williams said. “That coupled with the harsh reality that the teen then used one of those guns to shoot another young man only cements the need for tougher penalties for straw purchasers in Pennsylvania.”

Prosecutors said 32-year-old Luke Dercole, of the 6400 block of Lawndale Avenue, bought four different guns for 16-year-old Michael Burak between Oct. 17 and Oct. 23, 2012. Burak allegedly used one of those guns to shoot 20-year-old Jonathan Espinosa on Oct. 28 inside an Oxford Circle home. He has been charged with attempted murder in connection with that case.

“Buying multiple guns for a minor, who then shoots another teen, is not only unacceptable – it is a tragedy,” Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said. “This is an example of enforcing sensible laws against illegal gun trafficking.”

 

 

Piecing facts together

 

 

Authorities said the investigation was launched after narcotics agents searching a Frankford Avenue home last month found a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Police were able to trace that gun back to Dercole and discovered it was one of four firearms he had purchased in October. Prosecutors said none of those guns were reported stolen or missing.

Dercole allegedly admitted in an interview with police that he bought the guns for 16-year-old reputed drug dealer Michael Burak in exchange for packets of heroin. He allegedly made multiple purchases because Burak wasn’t happy with the type of guns Dercole bought.

Dercole was arraigned overnight and is charged with illegal transfer, corruption of a minor, conspiracy, making false statements to authorities, tampering with public records and numerous firearm offenses. He is currently being held on $500,000 bail and is next due in court on March 4.

Though the recently-passed “Brad Fox Law” now allows state prosecutors to pursue tougher sentences for those accused of multiple straw purchases, authorities said the statute doesn’t apply in this case because Dercole allegedly bought the guns before December of 2012.

 

 

Timeline

 

 

Prosecutors allege that Dercole’s illegal purchases include:

Gun Ruger LCP .380
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. A Ruger LCP .380.

>> A Ruger LCP .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol on Oct. 17.

Gun .22 caliber revolver
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. A .22 caliber revolver.

>> A .22 caliber revolver on Oct. 19, which he allegedly sold back to the gun store the next day.

Gun .380 caliber Taurus semi-automatic handgun
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. A .380 caliber Taurus semi-automatic handgun.

>> A .380 caliber Taurus semi-automatic pistol on Oct. 20. He exchanged that weapon for a different gun three days later.

Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun
Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. A Glock 9mm semi-automatic handgun.

>> A 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol on Oct. 23. Burak allegedly used that gun to shoot Espinoza five days later.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

GAMES Hudson Common Open Aug. 21, 7 p.m. Hudson Common 356 W. 58 St. Free, www.hudsoncommonnyc.com The U.S. Open begins on Monday, but most of…

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…