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Hempfield man going to prison on gun charges

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Friday, March 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A convicted felon accused of trying to buy an assault rifle and handgun from an undercover state trooper reached a plea agreement on Thursday that calls for a prison sentence, his attorney said.

Under the agreement, Matthew Scott Campbell, 26, of 150 Manchester Drive, Hempfield, will plead guilty to a criminal attempt charge and serve at least four years in prison, Westmoreland County Assistant Public Defender John Sweeney said.

Campbell had been scheduled to appear on Thursday before Greensburg District Judge James Albert on criminal attempt, criminal solicitation and conspiracy charges, all involving weapons, and criminal use of a communication facility.

A county judge must accept the plea agreement before it can take effect.

Campbell was serving time on state parole when he was arrested.

On May 11, he posted on Facebook, “Anybody have any guns for sale,” state police at Greensburg said.

After receiving a tip about the posting, police began conversing via the Internet with Campbell. During one exchange, Campbell said “he was a felon,” and the weapons he wanted would have to be reported stolen before he could buy them, authorities said.

Under law, convicted felons are barred from owning or buying guns.

Campbell specified he wanted an AK-47, an AR-16 and a pistol, authorities said.

A trooper working undercover forwarded pictures of the AK-47 assault rifle and a semi-automatic MAC 11 pistol to Campbell, according to court papers.

Campbell and troopers discussed an $800 price for both weapons, authorities said.

Police arranged to meet with Campbell on March 13 in the Gander Mountain parking lot on Towne Square Drive so Campbell could buy the weapons.

About 4:15 p.m., Campbell got into the undercover trooper's vehicle in the lot, discussed buying the firearms and was arrested, authorities said.

Police found $817 during a search of Campbell's vehicle.

Authorities said they didn't know what Campbell planned to do with the weapons.

In 2010, he was sentenced to two to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to felony drug charges, court records show.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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