Skip to main content
Press Release

Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Manufacturing and Selling Machinegun Conversion Devices

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

ALBUQUERQUE – An Albuquerque man pleaded guilty in federal court to engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license and possession of a machine gun conversion device.

According to court documents, in December 2022, the ATF identified an Instagram user as possibly being in possession of and selling illegal machine gun conversion devices, which modify firearms to make them fire fully automatic. The ATF identified the user as Joe Jasso, 20, by the distinctive tattoo on his hand.

In January 2023, the account was deleted.

A new Instagram account was identified by the ATF in January 2023, which appeared to belong to Jasso based on the same hand tattoos being visible on posts on the account.

On February 3, 2023, undercover detectives from the Albuquerque Police Department contacted Jasso through Instagram and set up a controlled purchase of machine gun conversion devices from Jasso and his mother, Rachael Jasso. During the transaction, Jasso explained to the undercover detective how to install the conversion device onto a firearm and confirmed that it would allow the firearm to shoot fully automatic. Jasso also offered to obtain an assault rifle auto sear to sell to the undercover officer.

On February 16, 2023, federal law enforcement agents and local law enforcement executed a search warrant at Jasso’s residence in Albuquerque. Inside the home, law enforcement located and seized:

  • Approximately ten firearms,
  • Five machine gun conversion devices,
  • A large amount of ammunition,
  • Numerous ammunition magazines (both loaded and unloaded), and
  • A 3D printer.

As part of his guilty plea, Jasso admitted he knew the conversion devices met the federal definition of a firearm and that he did not have a license to engage in the business of selling firearms.

The Court ordered that Jasso remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

At sentencing, Jasso faces up to 10 years in prison. Upon his release from prison, Jasso will be subject to up to three years of supervised release.

Jasso’s co-defendant, Rachel Jasso, is currently scheduled to stand trial on July 8, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Brendan Iber, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, made the announcement today.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado is prosecuting the case.

Machine gun conversion devices and auto sears are illegal devices designed to modify a semi-automatic firearm so it is capable of fully automatic fire, that is, continuous firing with a single trigger pull. The possession, manufacture, and/or sale of machine gun conversion devices without proper licensing is a federal offense punishable by severe penalties, including up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. The use of machinegun conversion devices poses a significant public safety risk, as they transform semi-automatic firearms into dangerous machine guns capable of causing catastrophic harm.

# # #

Updated June 12, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-208