Firearms charges filed against Watsontown man

DELAWARE TOWNSHIP — Multiple felony firearms charges have been filed by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and the Northumberland County District Attorney’s Office against a Watsontown man accused of trading three long guns for a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Matthew Vallati, 39, of Musser Lane, has been charged with felony counts of persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms (six counts) and criminal use of a communication facility.

The charges were filed in the office of District Judge Michael Diehl of Milton by Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Agent and Northumberland County District Attorney’s Office Det. Degg Stark. The alleged incident occurred in August in Delaware Township, Northumberland County.

Stark wrote in court documents that he was contacted Sept. 15 by Snyder County Probation Officer Colin Devanney, who alleged that Vallati traded three long guns to James Gesselman for a Harley Davidson. Vallati is on supervised probation through Snyder County and prohibited from possessing firearms.

At 5 p.m. Sept. 13, court documents state Gesselman attempted to sell a Mossberg Maverick 12-gauge shotgun to Gator’s Guns in Shamokin Dam. Gesselman allegedly purchased the shotgun from Vallati.

Pennsylvania State Police at Selinsgrove were called to the gun shop and took Gesselman into custody for a probation violation, court documents state.

Under questioning by agents from the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and the Snyder County District Attorney’s Office, court documents said Gesselman admitted to accepting an offer by Vallati to trade a Harley Davidson motorcycle which Gesselman listed for sale on Facebook. In exchange, Vallati agreed to give him three guns, as well as a 2008 Can-Am four wheeler.

Court documents indicate that Gesselman said he gave one gun to his father, and sold another. The firearms were subsequently examined by investigators.

Snyder County Det. Doug Bickhart performed a check on the three firearms Gesselman allegedly received from Vallatti and found there were no records indicating the guns were reported stolen.

According to court documents, Vallati pled guilty in 2008 to burglary and criminal trespass charges.

Vallati was arraigned Tuesday before Diehl and released on $100,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Nov. 3.

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