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Press Release

Dark Web Gun Trafficker from Grass Valley Indicted for Unlawful Dealing in Firearms and Possession of Unregistered Firearms

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a nine-count indictment today against Michael Paul Grisham Smith, 44, of Grass Valley, charging him with unlawful dealing and manufacturing in firearms and unlawful possession of unregistered firearms, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

According to court documents, Smith contacted a firearms vendor on the dark web seeking to sell AR-15-style “ghost” guns that have no serial number. The firearms vendor on the dark web was in fact an undercover law enforcement agent working for Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Between December 1, 2017, and February 15, 2018, Smith manufactured and sold eight AR‑15‑style firearms without serial numbers to the undercover agent in exchange for payment in bitcoin.

This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Quinn Hochhalter and Justin Lee are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Smith faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated April 12, 2018

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