Two Clayton County men sentenced to prison after discharging machinegun at federal agents
ATLANTA - Anthony Maseda and Erik Arreola-Torres have been sentenced for their roles in a scheme to convert semi-automatic firearms into machineguns and sell the fully automatic firearms out of a Clayton County, Georgia, residence. Arreola-Torres fired at federal special agents and local law enforcement officers using a fully automatic machinegun when the investigators arrived at the home to execute a search warrant.
“Maseda and Arreola-Torres jeopardized the lives of multiple law enforcement officers and community residents during an investigation by law enforcement officers of the defendants’ machinegun trafficking scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “This office and its law enforcement partners will identify, target, and prosecute those individuals who threaten the safety of our communities by creating and selling automatic firearms. We commend the work of our dedicated agency partners in this case and are grateful no one was injured during this violent incident.”
“Because of the combined efforts of ATF and its law enforcement partners, criminal elements have been surgically removed from the community of Clayton County and placed where they belong: into the criminal justice system to be processed and prosecuted for illegal gun activity,” said Alisha Jones, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Atlanta Field Division.
“This investigation re-affirms the importance of our agency’s collaboration with our federal partners. The arrests resulting from this joint investigation with the ATF surely saved lives in Clayton County and likely in the metropolitan region. The Clayton County Police Department will continue to partner with our Federal and State law enforcement agencies to reduce violent crimes in our community,” said Clayton County Police Chief Kevin Roberts.
According to U.S. Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: From January through March of 2022, Anthony Maseda and Erik Arreola-Torres conducted a firearm and machinegun trafficking operation out of a home in Jonesboro, Georgia. Maseda, a previously convicted felon, and leader of the operation, illegally imported auto sear devices, also known as “switches”, from China. Possessing an auto sear is a felony offense under federal law, even when the device is not installed in a firearm.
Using auto sears, Maseda converted numerous firearms into fully automatic machineguns and then advertised the sale of machineguns, auto sears, and semi-automatic firearms on his public Instagram page. Federal special agents obtained a warrant to search the Jonesboro residence after Maseda and Arreola-Torres sold a machinegun, a semi-automatic firearm, and multiple switches to an undercover informant at the home.
On the morning of March 3, 2022, special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the Clayton County Police Department, executed the search warrant at the Jonesboro house. As law enforcement officers stood outside the home, Arreola-Torres picked up a machinegun and fired towards agents and officers from inside the residence, unloading dozens of rounds in the investigators’ direction. Fortunately, no one was hit or injured.
After securing the scene and taking Maseda and Arreola-Torres into custody, agents located within the residence six fully automatic machineguns, four additional auto sears, five additional firearms, numerous firearm parts and magazines, ammunition, bullet proof body armor, and distribution quantities of marijuana and digital scales. One of the firearms had an obliterated serial number.
Erik Arreola-Torres, 20, of Jonesboro, Georgia, was sentenced on May 7, 2023, by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Grimberg to ten years and one month in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to possession of a machinegun and conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license on October 17, 2022.
Anthony Maseda, 21, of Jonesboro, Georgia, was also sentenced by Judge Grimberg to nine years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to possession of a machinegun on October 13, 2022.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Clayton County Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Annalise K. Peters 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 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.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.