INDIANAPOLIS – Alexander Clark, 26, of Franklin, Indiana, was charged by criminal complaint for the federal offenses of dealing firearms without a license, possession and/or transfer of machine guns and manufacturing machine guns.
According to court documents, in May of 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) began an investigation into Clark for unlawfully manufacturing and selling privately made firearms, including machine guns. Over the course of the next several months, ATF agents conducted a covert investigation and purchased several 3-D printed Glock style firearms and devices capable of converting semiautomatic rifles to fully automatic machineguns from Clark. A search warrant was executed at Clark’s residence on August 22, 2022, in conjunction with the criminal complaint, and Clark was subsequently arrested.
During the search of Clark’s residence, law enforcement officers seized approximately 30 firearms including several 3-D printed firearms, several “Glock switches” used to convert firearms into machine guns, a suspected fully automatic AR-15 rifle, 3-D printing filament, a laptop with a Glock frame on screen connected to a 3-D printer, and a silencer.
Clark does not possess a Federal Firearms License authorizing him to sell firearms and he had not registered the weapons in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as is required for this category of firearms. 3-D printed firearms of this type are untraceable and are referred to as “ghost guns.” Ghost guns are unserialized, privately made firearms increasingly recovered by law enforcement at crime scenes across the country. Because ghost guns lack the serial numbers marked on other firearms, they are impossible for law enforcement to trace through the ATF’s National Tracing Center.
Clark made his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and was ordered detained pending a hearing. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Columbus Field Division made the announcement.
ATF is investigating this case in collaboration with the Columbus (Indiana) Police Department.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Jayson McGrath who is prosecuting the case.
This case is being brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s National Ghost Gun Initiative. The initiative was launched in February 2022 in response to the proliferation of ghost guns in our communities, and the growing number of criminals who unlawfully use or possess these untraceable weapons. The Attorney General directed U.S. Attorney’s Offices to train a national cadre of prosecutors as experts to lead investigations and prosecutions of crimes involving ghost guns. These ghost gun coordinators will also share investigation and prosecution tools with other prosecutors and law enforcement officers. As part of the initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana will focus its investigation and prosecution resources on combatting the illegal possession, use, and sale of ghost guns.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.