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Press Release

Greensboro Man Sentenced for Illegal Firearms Dealing as a Result of New Legislation Aimed at Building Safer Communities

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of North Carolina

GREENSBORO – A Guilford County man was sentenced today to 60 months in prison after pleading guilty to dealing firearms without a license after a lengthy investigation revealed an extensive illegal firearms business, announced United States Attorney Sandra J. Hairston.

According to court records, GREGORY VINCE RACHAL, age 58, of Greensboro, was contacted in September 2020 by law enforcement after sales records revealed that RACHAL had purchased a large number of firearms on multiple occasions that were the same make and model. At the time of the purchases, RACHAL did not have a license to deal firearms, and the sales records mirrored the behavior of a firearms dealer. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) visited RACHAL to inquire about the sales and RACHAL voluntarily admitted to selling firearms without a license. RACHAL said he was not sure that he needed a license and agreed to no longer sell firearms. In the days immediately after the interview, RACHAL continued to obtain additional similar firearms, prompting a federal investigation. In November 2020, local ATF agents received multiple reports that firearms purchased by RACHAL were recovered by law enforcement agencies across multiple states. In total, twenty-seven of RACHAL’s firearms were recovered in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

In September 2021, a confidential source revealed to law enforcement that RACHAL owned and operated a tactical supply store located besides his business, POPS Electric, wherein he sold ammunition, tactical gear, and firearms parts, and that he was manufacturing privately-made firearms (PMFs), also known as “ghost guns.”.

In an additional interview with ATF agents in December 2021, RACHAL again admitted that he had continued to sell firearms despite warnings from federal agents. RACHAL also informed the agents that he had maintained a log of all of his firearms transactions which he provided to law enforcement. According to his records, RACHAL had acquired over 200 sterilized firearms between March 2020 and January 2021. His records further detailed that he sold approximately fourteen of those after the initial warning from investigators in September 2020.

In July of 2022, a confidential source (CS) revealed to law enforcement that RACHAL had PMFs for sale at his tactical shop. The CS then made a series of controlled purchases of PMFs at this location that were audio and visually recorded by law enforcement.

This case was prosecuted under the new criminal provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress enacted and the President signed in June 2022.  The Act is the first federal statute specifically designed to target the unlawful trafficking and straw-purchasing of firearms.

“This case is just one example of how our law enforcement agencies work hard each day to keep Americans safe. By tracing and confiscating illegal firearms and removing unlicensed dealers from our communities, the threat that these weapons will fall into the hands of those prohibited from possessing them is substantially decreased,” said U. S. Attorney Sandra Hairston. 

On October 31, 2022, RACHAL and one co-defendant were charged in a sealed Indictment. RACHAL was charged with one count of dealing firearms without a license and six counts of knowingly selling firearms to a convicted felon. He pleaded guilty to one count of dealing firearms without a license on March 1, 2023.

RACHAL was sentenced today to a 60 month term of imprisonment by the Honorable Catherine C. Eagles, United States District Judge in the United States District Court for the MDNC. In addition to prison time, RACHAL was ordered to serve two years of supervised release and to pay a $5,000 fine and a special assessment of $100.00.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Greensboro Police Department, and the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nicole DuPré.


Updated June 1, 2023