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Press Release

Man Sentenced for Smuggling Machineguns and Silencers into the United States, Which He Then Sold on Facebook Marketplace

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

NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was sentenced yesterday to four years in prison for smuggling machineguns and firearm silencers into the United States, which he then sold on Facebook Marketplace.

According to court documents, John Patrick Gordon Dane, 36, ordered firearm parts from black-market websites. These parts included Glock switches, also referred to as auto-sears, which are small devices that can be attached to handguns, converting semi-automatic pistols into machine pistols capable of fully automatic fire. Because a switch causes a firearm to expel more than one projectile with a single pull of the trigger, the part is classified as a machinegun under federal law. Dane also purchased firearm silencers from the black-market websites. The firearm parts were shipped to Dane’s residence with manifests that disguised the contents of the packages.

On January 10, 2023, law enforcement officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Virginia Beach Police Department executed a search warrant at Dane’s residence. During the search, investigators found Dane in a shed on his property that he used to assemble and modify firearms. Investigators seized 17 firearms from the shed. The recovered firearms included an AR-15 rifle that had been converted to fire as a machinegun. Investigators also located a Glock firearm with a large capacity magazine, pictured below, that had a switch affixed to it in an attempt to allow it to fire fully automatic. Other firearms recovered from the shed included “ghost guns,” or firearms manufactured without serial numbers.

Glock firearm with a large capacity magazine and an auto-sear/switch

Dane had been previously convicted of a felony offense in 2012 in Virginia.

Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Ramin Fatehi, Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney; Craig Kailimai, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Washington Field Division; Derek W. Gordon, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Washington, D.C.; and Paul Neudigate, Chief of the Virginia Beach Police Department, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Elizabeth W. Hanes.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Graham M. Stolle prosecuted the case.

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 gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:23-cr-104.


Press Officer

Updated February 27, 2024

Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses