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OAKLAND –Troy Elias Walker, David Michael Rembert, and Daljit Kamal Singh pleaded guilty today in federal court to a conspiracy to deal firearms without a license, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Patrick Gorman, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) San Francisco Division Inspector in Charge Rafael Nuñez, and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Wade R. Shannon.
A federal complaint filed August 10, 2021, initiated charges against Walker, 24, and Rembert, 42, both from Concord, and Singh, 27, from Hercules, arising from an investigation into the trafficking of unlicensed and illegal firearms conducted in-person and via Instagram. The complaint described that law enforcement agents purchased 17 machinegun conversion switches designed for pistols and 13 other firearms over the course of multiple undercover buys in Concord, California. A machinegun conversion switch, also referred to as a conversion switch, is a device that modifies a firearm so that it fires as a machinegun, that is, it fires multiple bullets in rapid succession by a single pull of the trigger. A conversion switch itself qualifies as a machinegun under federal law. The undercover firearm purchases also included buys of privately made firearms (PMFs) in addition to commercially manufactured firearms. PMFs – which include firearms colloquially referred to as “ghost guns” – are firearms built from unfinished receivers and typically lack manufacturer’s marks or serial numbers.
Today each defendant entered into a plea agreement admitting he was guilty of conspiring with his two co-defendants to deal firearms without a license. In their respective plea agreements, the defendants described examples of their illegal firearms sales as part of the conspiracy. Singh admitted in his plea agreement that on April 21, 2021, he sold a Smith & Wesson handgun with an obliterated serial number and a conversion switch to an undercover law enforcement agent. Rembert was present at the transaction along with Walker, and Rembert admitted in his plea agreement that he obliterated the serial numbers on the handgun. Rembert also admitted that he installed the conversion switch onto the undercover agent’s firearm at the time of the sale, converting the handgun into a machinegun, and that he charged a fee for the installation service.
Rembert further admitted in his plea agreement that on May 6, 2021, he sold a Glock-style handgun with a conversion switch to an undercover law enforcement agent for $2,000. Rembert admitted he installed the switch into the firearm during the meeting, converting it to a machinegun.
Walker admitted in his plea agreement that on the same day, May 6, 2021, he sold four conversion switches for $1,050 to an undercover law enforcement agent. He also sold the undercover agent a privately made P80 firearm – a PMF or ghost gun – with a Glock slide on it for $1,050. Walker acknowledged these items qualify under federal law as machineguns.
Walker also admitted that on June 2, 2021, he sold ten conversion switches for $2,000 and a privately made P80 firearm with an obliterated serial number and an installed conversion switch for $1,000. He also sold an AR-15 style rifle and a SKS rifle. These sales were made to undercover law enforcement agents. Walker admitted the conversion switches and the P80 firearm qualified as machineguns.
Rembert further admitted in his plea agreement that on July 14, 2021, he sold a Glock Model 48 handgun, a Glock Model 36 handgun, and a Glock-style conversion switch to two undercover law enforcement agents. The total price was more than $3,200.
Each defendant admitted that the conspiracy spanned at least from April 15, 2021, through July 14, 2021, and during this time up to 99 firearms were sold. Walker specifically admitted selling 30 firearms to undercover agents during the conspiracy and selling firearms on Instagram. All three defendants admitted they did not have a license to sell firearms.
The three defendants were arrested on August 12, 2021. In their respective plea agreements, Walker acknowledged that on the day of the arrest, law enforcement agents seized twelve firearms from his residence, Rembert admitted agents seized 38 firearms from his residence, and Singh admitted agents recovered a machinegun pistol from a car registered to him.
The defendants are scheduled for their sentencing hearings before United States District Judge Jon S. Tigar in Oakland federal court on August 5, 2022. Walker remains in custody pending sentencing. Rembert and Singh are out of custody pending sentencing.
Walker, Rembert, and Singh each entered a guilty plea to a single count of conspiracy to deal firearms without a license in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 922(a)(1)(A). This charge carries a maximum term of 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Abraham Fine, Jonathan U. Lee, and Frank Riebli are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Leeya Kekona and Kathleen Turner. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by ATF, DEA, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Concord Police Department, and the Antioch Police Department.
This case follows the launch by the U.S. Department of Justice of Cross-Jurisdictional Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces in five key regions that are focused on disrupting illegal firearms trafficking. One of the five Strike Forces was launched here, in the San Francisco Greater Bay Area and Sacramento Region. The Strike Force identifies sources of illegally trafficked firearms and disrupts straw purchasing and firearms trafficking schemes and networks through collaborative cross-jurisdictional efforts, which include additional states and multiple law enforcement agencies.