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Press Release

Whitehall Man Sentenced to 37 Months on Machinegun Charge

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Shane Robert Smith, a/k/a Robert Smith, age 19, of Whitehall, New York, was sentenced today to serve 37 months in prison for illegal possession of a machinegun. 

The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Andrew W. Vale, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also ordered Smith to serve a 3-year term of supervised release upon his release from prison. 

U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian stated: “Our Joint Terrorism Task Force identified Shane Smith as a potential threat and quickly worked to neutralize him so that he would not be able to carry out a hate-inspired act of violence.  This investigation and prosecution is an example of the kind of work that we and our law enforcement partners do every day to keep our citizens safe, which is our top priority.” 

“The safety of our communities is paramount,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew W. Vale. “Threats like those posed by Mr. Smith need to be stopped as soon as possible. Thanks to the joint efforts of our law enforcement partners, Mr. Smith’s hateful vision will not be realized.” 

Smith admitted that he repeatedly sought to purchase or otherwise obtain fully automatic weapons, as well as semiautomatic weapons that he intended to convert into fully automatic weapons.  In social media postings and other communications, Smith repeatedly advocated violence toward members of racial and religious minority groups, and listed his interests as “guns, gun smithing, building bombs, knives, guerilla warfare, preserving my race and folk, and destroying the government.”  Smith also attempted to form what he described as a “militant terrorist” group, or a “hit squad,” called the Silent Resistance Army that would be a “true underground Aryan militant army with only men who are not scared to kill or die to make change happen.” 

After becoming aware of social media postings by the defendant, including a post in which Smith sought to acquire a Mac 10 machinegun, individuals working with law enforcement contacted him.  In subsequent communications with those people, Smith confirmed that he sought to purchase a Mac 10 and that he intended to “rock and roll it,” a phrase that means to convert a semi-automatic weapon to fully automatic.  Smith further explained that the firearm was “gonna be used to execute kikes, coons, and get money for the crew.”  Smith also sought to acquire Green Tip ammunition, which is designed to pierce body armor, as well as explosives such as “c4 or grenades.” 

After communicating through the Internet and text messages with an undercover FBI agent, Smith arranged to meet with the agent for the purpose of acquiring machineguns, silencers, and ammunition.  On August 5, 2015, Smith met with an undercover FBI agent in Whitehall, New York, and took possession of two machineguns, a silencer, a Beretta handgun, and 120 rounds of Green Tip ammunition; the guns were not loaded and inoperable at the time.  Smith was then immediately arrested. 

This case was investigated by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force in Albany, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sean O’Dowd and Solomon Shinerock.

Updated September 7, 2016

Firearms Offenses