Provo Man Faces Firearms Charges Following FBI JTTF Investigation
SALT LAKE CITY – A three-count complaint unsealed Thursday morning in federal court in Salt Lake City charges a Provo, Utah, man with violations of federal firearms laws in connection with an FBI criminal investigation that started in November.
Keith Max Pierce, age 34, who was arrested Wednesday morning in Provo, is charged with failure to register as a dealer and manufacturer; illegal possession of machine guns; and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number. He had an initial appearance on the charges Thursday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke C. Wells. Federal prosecutors are seeking detention. Magistrate Judge Wells scheduled a detention hearing for Monday at 9:30 a.m.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, the investigation of Pierce started in November after Pierce made statements to an FBI source regarding bombing the Internal Revenue Service in Provo, the Provo Police Department, and a court building. Pierce also discussed access he had to fully automatic weapons.
The complaint alleges that during the course of the investigation, Pierce made a deal to make one fully automatic AR-15 firearm for an FBI undercover agent. The complaint alleges that in late May, Pierce delivered one modified AR-15 fully automatic firearm with an obliterated serial number to the FBI agent. ATF testing of the firearm concluded that it is a machine gun that is not registered to Pierce in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Possession of the firearm is a violation of federal law.
The potential maximum penalty for each count in the complaint is 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Complaints are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged in a complaint are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah. The case is being investigated by agents and officers from agencies involved in the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, the ATF, Federal Protective Services, the Utah Department of Public Safety, and the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
In another FBI JTTF case, a July 1, 2014, trial date has been set in federal court in Idaho for Fazliddin Kurbanov, age 30, of Boise. Kurbanov was arrested in May on federal terrorism charges filed in Boise and Salt Lake City. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Idaho is proceeding with its case first. Kurbanov will be transferred to Utah to face one count of distribution of information relating to explosives, destructive devices, and weapons of mass destruction at the conclusion of the prosecution in Idaho.