Crime & Courts

Wichita man bought guns with counterfeit money then traded them for meth, feds say

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)

Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of guns the Wichita Police Department seized from a man who said he traded guns for drugs.

The three weapons and accompanying ammunition were seized in February after Wichita police and the Secret Service investigated reports of a man using fake money to buy guns, according to an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Friday filed a federal court case seeking the forfeiture of the handguns and 24 rounds of 9mm ammo to the government.

The pistols are a 9mm Glock , a 9mm Smith & Wesson and a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson. They were seized from Trenton Ewertz, the ATF agent wrote in court documents.

The investigation started Feb. 2 when a man told Wichita police that he sold two handguns to Ewertz and was paid with counterfeit cash, the ATF agent wrote. A police officer seized one of the guns from Ewertz on Feb. 13.

Ewertz was not arrested that day, Sedgwick County Jail booking reports show. But he was arrested Feb. 19 when police searched a home in the 2100 block of North Woodrow, near 21st and Amidon.

That search was conducted the same day a second man told the Secret Service that he sold a gun to Ewertz and was paid with fake money, according to court documents. The search at the home was to find Ewertz, who was wanted on a probation violation warrant. Officers found him, multiple denominations of counterfeit currency, about 10 grams of meth, about 2 grams of marijuana, drug paraphernalia and three guns — two of which were loaded.

“Ewertz told officers during multiple interviews that he purchased the ... firearms with counterfeit United States currency, and that he had a very serious methamphetamine habit,” the ATF agent wrote. “Ewertz also admitted that he would exchange the purchased firearms for methamphetamine.”

The agent wrote that the guns may be forfeited because it is illegal to buy property with counterfeit money, to possess a firearm in connection to a drug crime, to possess a gun that has been stolen and to possess a gun after being convicted of a felony.

Ewertz is no longer in the Sedgwick County Jail. State and federal court records do not show any criminal charges filed against Ewertz in connection to the case.

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