Guns and Texas go together like peanut butter and chocolate. Or criminals and jail. Because that’s exactly where two employees of one Texas dealership have ended up. The Miami Herald reports that the Feds busted them selling weapons and ammo out of the dealership where they worked.
From the Herald:
The car salesman opened the rear hatch of a black Ford Explorer at the Texas dealership, revealing three rifles and what appeared to be over 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Joshua Ellard had led the undercover officer to a more secluded area of the lot because, as he explained, he’d gotten into trouble before for doing gun deals at Covert Auto Group dealership in Hutto, according to court documents.
A tip led federal investigators to set up a sting operation against Joshua Ellard and Craig Tondre, both salesmen at a dealership in the ironically named Covert Auto Group out of Hutto, Texas. What appears to be Craig Tondre’s LinkedIn profile lists him as General Sales Manager but a lawyer representing the dealer contacted Jalopnik to say that he was salesman.
Federal authorities set up multiple undercover purchases to confirm their suspicions. Ellard and Tondre allegedly sold weapons out of the back of a Ford Explorer registered to the dealership. How bold do you have to be to pull something like that? It gets even better, as the feds observed the same vehicle parked outside Tondre’s house. He used it as a personal vehicle.
Authorities say that initially, they would contact Ellard, who would get back to them while he coordinated with Tondre as to what inventory they had.
Over the course of the weeks before the arrests, Federal agents managed to purchase a gun that may have been illegally modified, with the promise by Ellard of more weapons and silencers to come. He delivered on that promise, selling the agent a silencer and ammo for $1,100. The pair also sold agents three AR-style rifles in the last weeks before their arrest.
Both men were arrested on April 9. Ellard shouldn’t even have had access to these weapons as it was revealed that he served 15 years in prison for grand theft auto and second-degree murder. Both men have been fired from the dealership group, with the dealer denying any knowledge or involvement.
Update: 5/7/2021 7:26 PM
As it was initially published, this story suggested that the dealership itself had been accused of selling guns illegally. In fact, it was two dealership employees. The headline has been amended and errors were corrected. The dealership has also reached out with the following statement that we are working to verify:
“Covert Ford Hutto was not aware of any alleged illegal activity by these employees on our premises until the time of arrests. Once we learned of the arrests, they were terminated. The actions of these former employees do not reflect the values and business practices of Covert Ford Hutto. No member of management or ownership knew of any illegal activity prior to the arrests of the individuals.”