East Williston man gets prison for selling guns for drugs

Noah Manskar

A federal judge in Connecticut sentenced an East Williston man to 18 months in prison on Tuesday for selling guns in exchange for drugs.

Scott Liff, 44, pleaded guilty in federal court in July 2015 to one count of possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance for selling as many as 10 weapons for crack cocaine, according to federal court records.

Police in New Haven, Connecticut, first found a gun registered to Liff in 2012 when they arrested a person for criminal possession of a weapon, court records say. That person told police that he bought the gun in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Police in Norwalk, Connecticut, found a second gun registered in Liff’s name after arresting someone for a shooting in December 2013, court records say.

Liff falsely told police that they were stolen and he had not reported the thefts, court records say. But he eventually hired a lawyer and admitted to federal authorities that he traded the guns with drug dealers in Bridgeport and other places in exchange for crack, court records say.

Federal authorities identified eight pistols that Liff sold across state lines, court records show. He also admitted to selling an assault rifle.

U.S. District Court Judge Alfred V. Covello also sentenced Liff to three years of supervised release after he gets out of jail.

In letters filed in court, Liff’s doctors, family members and friends asked Covello not to send him to prison so he could continue his treatment for drug addiction and bipolar disorder.

Liff was arrested in September 2015 for allegedly stealing his brother-in-law’s wallet and again in 2016 for violating the terms of his bail after an apparent drug relapse, court records say.

But since then, he has completed a residential drug treatment program in Connecticut and lived in a sober house until his sentencing, records say. The letters, including one from Liff’s brother-in-law, argue that going to prison would hinder his progress and place a larger burden on him than he deserves.

“Scott has proven to be a much improved son, brother, and friend in these recent months and it is my opinion that any prison sentence could hinder the progress he has made of late,” Cristina Liff, Scott Liff’s mother, wrote in an April 20 letter to Covello.

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