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Press Release

Dark Web Gun Trafficker from Nevada County Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Dealing in Firearms

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

SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Michael Paul Grisham Smith, 44, of Grass Valley, pleaded guilty today to unlawful dealing and manufacturing in 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 was in fact an undercover law enforcement agent working for the Homeland Security Investigations.  Between October 5, 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 (HSI). Assistant U.S. Attorneys Quinn Hochhalter and Justin Lee are prosecuting the case.

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. on September 7, 2018. Smith faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will 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.

Updated June 22, 2018

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Press Release Number: 2:18-cr-043 GEB