BANGOR — For illegally receiving and shipping firearms to Romania, Iulian Petre was sentenced Thursday to 24 months in federal prison.

Petre, 51, also known as Julian Petre, formerly of Waterville and more recently of Winslow, was convicted by a jury of nine firearms-related charges and was cleared of seven charges — including money laundering and smuggling — on Aug. 28, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Bangor.

He has been free on bail pending sentencing, and on Thursday the judge gave him 60 days to report to prison.

U.S. District Court Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. said he wanted to place the offenses in context, saying a small number of firearms was involved and “the defendant is not … an international arms dealer of any kind of scale.”

Even so, Woodcock warned Petre that the conviction prohibits him from possessing any firearms.

“Your firearms days are over, and if they’re not over, you will go back to jail,” the judge said.


Before the hearing, Petre’s attorney, Jeremy Pratt, said he was hoping for “the absolute minimal sentence the court is willing to impose.”

The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Ruge, said the guideline sentence for the offenses was 41 to 51 months, but that the judge would decide whether that number should be higher.

Petre answered a number of questions from the judge but did not speak further. Pratt said an appeal is planned based on a ruling involving serial numbers on the firearms found in Romania.

Afterward, Petre and his attorney declined requests to take a photo of Petre and for further comment on the case.

In sentencing memos filed with the court, Ruge wrote: “Here, the evidence proves that Mr. Petre illegally possessed, received, and distributed more than eight firearms in the course of conduct relevant to the crimes of conviction. The defendant was convicted of conduct involving no fewer than seven firearms.”

He asked that Woodcock “find that the defendant illegally received, possessed, and shipped no fewer than 13 firearms in the course of conduct relevant to the crimes of conviction, and impose the appropriate four-level enhancement.”


At the 2.5-hour hearing, Woodcock refused to do that, but he enhanced the sentence because he concluded that Petre committed perjury when he testified at his trial that he had removed the receivers — the pieces that hold the firing mechanisms — from the guns before exporting them.

“Who would buy a gun without a receiver?” Woodcock said. “It’s a useless piece of property. It’s equivalent to telling someone he sold a car without a motor.”

Woodcock also notes that the firearms were mostly shotguns and intended for hunting or personal protection.

Petre told agents at one point that he initially brought a firearm to Romania to give to his father, and when friends began to ask for them as well, and he sent them.

The prosecution said Petre purchased and received firearms from out-of-state sellers had found through the Internet and exported them to Romania but failed to follow the proper legal process.

Testimony on Thursday indicated that agents told Petre previously that to export firearms, he would need licenses through the U.S. Department of State, certification from the U.S. Department of Commerce and be licensed as a firearms dealer through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


According to various websites listing gunshops, Petre had a Title 1 dealer or gunsmith license at one point, and the address listed for the business is 263 North Pond Road, Winslow.

On Thursday, Perley “Chuck” Sasuclark, of Winslow, addressed the judge, saying he had sponsored Petre when he first came to the United States in 1989. Sasuclark said he taught Petre English and employed him, and helped him get a driver’s license and later a commercial driver’s license, and has been friends with Petre and his family ever since.

“I know Iulian to be an honest person, a man of integrity, without malice without guile,” Sasuclark said.

Petre, who became a U.S. citizen in 1995 and retains Romanian citizenship, has worked as a truck driver for various firms.

A superseding indictment charged that in the period of August 2012 to August 2013, Petre illegally shipped, transported or received 10 firearms from eight states, illegally exported three firearms, promoted money laundering by wire transfers totaling $11,980 between the United States and Romania, and smuggled the three rifles also listed in the illegal export charges.

Other documents filed in the case say Petre shipped 16 firearms to Romania from September to November 2007 via the U.S. Postal Service and filed forms about that in the Waterville post office.


Two federal agents testified Thursday about Petre’s attempt to take three firearms to Romania in his luggage in December 2007, shortly after one of them told him not to send any more firearms. They were removed from Petre’s luggage at Logan International Airport in Boston as he was departing for Bucharest, Romania, and returned to him several years later.

On Thursday, Woodcock said, “In the court’s view, if the government had moved forward in 2007, it would truly have nipped the defendant’s business in the bud.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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