Welcome to Texas.
The Ford F-150 is popular everywhere in America, but especially in Texas. What's also popular in the Lone Star State are guns. So it'd make sense to combine them for the so-called "complete package." Thing is, firearms sales without a license is extremely illegal, but that didn't stop two Ford dealership employees from trying.
According to Automotive News, the two men, Craig Tondre, formerly a sales manager at Covert Ford Hutto, and dealer employee Joshua Ellard, were arrested last month and charged with dealing firearms without a license. Ellard had previously been convicted in Florida of second-degree murder.
Tondre was apparently the ringleader of the likely highly profitable side hustle. Ellard is in especially big trouble because he's also been charged as a felon in possession of a firearm and a machine gun. Covert Auto Group fired the pair immediately after their arrests. It also said its management team was completely unaware of Tondre and Ellard's activities. How did they get caught?
On several occasions, Ellard sold guns and ammunition to undercover Austin police officers. One officer purchased a silencer, 100 rounds of ammo, and four rifles. Before finalizing the deal, Ellard conferred with Tondre to make sure the merchandise was in stock.
Tondre, very wisely, was not physically present for any of the dealings, preferring to keep a low profile. However, officers conducted surveillance and caught him taking a rifle from his home to the dealership with the intent to sell. Ellard obviously had no idea he was selling to an undercover officer, which is why he actually brought the guy to Tondre's home to exchange the money for the weapon after the deal was made on the dealer lot. It was there where the officer saw a large safe with about 10 firearms inside.
That transaction confirmed Tondre's involvement. Both he and Ellard have since been released on bond and are awaiting trial.