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Press Release

Philadelphia Man Sentenced for Possession of Twenty Automatic Machineguns With Counterfeit After-Market Parts Making Them Capable of Firing 1,200 Rounds in 60 Seconds

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

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Ayende Alvarado, 40, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced today to 6 years and 6 months in prison without the possibility of parole, and three years of supervised release by United States District Court Judge Juan R. Sánchez for multiple firearms offenses including possession of a machinegun.

In May 2021, Alvarado pleaded guilty to a Superseding Indictment charging offenses including possession of a machinegun, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of a firearm not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The charges stem from an incident in July 2019, during which Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at JFK International Airport intercepted a package from China containing 20 counterfeit Glock auto-switches addressed to defendant’s home in Pennsylvania. The auto-switches are essentially conversion devices designed and created for the sole purpose of converting semi-automatic Glock pistols into fully automatic machineguns. When properly installed on a semi-automatic Glock pistol, these devices allow the firearm to expel more than one projectile by a single pull of the trigger, at a staggering rate of approximately 1,200 rounds per minute.

Following that discovery, agents with the Department of Homeland Security, Philadelphia Police detectives and members of the Philadelphia Police Department S.W.A.T Unit, executed a federal search and seizure warrant on the 3000 block of North 7th Street in Philadelphia. A search of a residence there revealed the presence of numerous firearms and ammunition, including the 20 counterfeit Glock auto-switches manufactured in China.

“The defendant had the supplies to put large-capacity, automatic weapons on the streets of Philadelphia, significantly contributing to the violent crime problem in our city,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “We are nearly six months into our ‘All Hands On Deck’ initiative; six months of working with our law enforcement partners nearly around the clock to put criminals like Alvarado behind bars where they can no longer contribute to the violence on the streets of our city.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.  The Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.

The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, United States Customs and Border Protection, United States Postal Inspection Service, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney José R. Arteaga.


615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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Updated September 15, 2021

Firearms Offenses