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Press Release

Minneapolis Man Charged with Using 3D Printers to Manufacture Machineguns

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

MINNEAPOLIS – A Minneapolis man has been charged in a federal criminal complaint for possessing auto sears and using 3D printers to manufacture auto sears out of his Minneapolis residence, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.

According to court documents, on August 31, 2022, law enforcement conducted a controlled delivery of a package containing 30 firearm parts to Aaron Malik Cato, 25, at his Minneapolis residence. The package, which had been shipped from Taiwan and intercepted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, contained enough parts to create 10 auto sears, a device that turns a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm and is considered a machinegun under federal law. Upon searching Cato’s home, pursuant to a warrant, law enforcement recovered seven firearms, including five handguns and two AR platform firearms. Three of the handguns were equipped with auto sears and appeared to be Privately Made Firearms (PMF’s), or ghost guns. Law enforcement also found inside Cato’s residence four 3D printers and multiple 3D printed auto sears.

Cato is charged in a criminal complaint with possession of machineguns. He made his initial appearance earlier today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung and was ordered to remain in detention pending further proceedings.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Minneapolis Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison K. Ethen is prosecuting the case.

A complaint is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated September 7, 2022

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