http://www.theadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071128/NEWS01/71128026/1002 NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former suburban gun shop owner and two employees accused of illegal gun sales that helped fuel the New Orleans area’s violent crime problem pleaded guilty to various federal charges Wednesday. The three supplied hundreds of guns that were later used in crimes throughout the metropolitan area, said Special Agent in Charge David Harper of the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Federal agents raided the store, Elliot’s Gun Shop in Jefferson Parish, last May. They seized hundreds of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition. At the time Harper said more than 2,300 firearms sold from the shop in the past five years have been tied to crimes in the metropolitan area, including 125 to murder investigations and 500 to illegal drug crimes. “This investigation revealed that those operating Elliot’s Gun Shop were illegally diverting firearms to some of the most violent criminals in our community,” Harper said on Wednesday. “These arrests and guilty pleas have served to substantially reduce the illegal diversion of firearms to the criminal element in the New Orleans area.” Timothy Harris Sr., 53, and Hermann Eicke III, 64, pleaded guilty before U. S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance to conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and to make false statements required of a federally licensed firearms dealer. Eicke was legally the owner of the now-defunct gun shop, but Harris was the one who really ran the business, Harper said. Harris also pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Rebecca Zitzmann, 42, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to make false statements on records required of a federally licensed firearms dealer. According to court documents, Eicke obtained a license to sell firearms by falsely representing himself as the owner of the gun shop. Eicke agreed to the arrangement because Harris was prohibited from possessing a federal firearms license, and to own, operate and receive the majority of revenue generated from the sale of firearms by Elliot’s Gun Shop. In exchange, Harris agreed to pay Eicke $1,000 a week as an employee of the business. Prosecutors said the three lied or encouraged others to lie on forms which, in some cases, enabled purchasers prohibited from possessing firearms to get them. Prosecutors charged that Harris also altered forms containing government-issued credentials of law enforcement officers, allowing him to purchase Glock firearms at discounted prices which he then sold to the general public for full retail price. Harris faces up to 27 in prison and a fine of $500,000. Eicke faces up to five years, a fine of $250,000. Zitzmann could spend five years in prison and pay a fine of $250,000.