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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Mississippi

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 2, 2022

Jackson Felon Pleads Guilty to Using 3D-Printers to Manufacture Machineguns

Jackson, Miss. – A Jackson man pled guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of engaging in business as a manufacturer of firearms, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to court documents, Kent Edward Newhouse, 41, possessed firearms on or about July 13, 2022 and July 20, 2022, and engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms from April to July 2022.  In April 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives discovered through a confidential informant that Newhouse was using 3D-printers to manufacture auto-sears, which are firearm components designed to cause semi-automatic firearms to function as fully automatic machineguns.  Under federal law, auto-sears are themselves machineguns.  On July 13, 2022, Newhouse sold a confidential informant a firearm and several auto-sears.  On July 20, 2022, a search warrant was executed at Newhouse’s residence, where additional firearms and auto-sears were located.  The government also obtained videos of Newhouse operating fully functional machineguns.  Newhouse was previously convicted of felony sale of controlled substances in Madison County in 2009.

“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting cases such as these and I applaud the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives,” said U.S. Attorney LaMarca. “Special Agent in Charge Thielhorn and ATF agents throughout the Southern District of Mississippi work tirelessly to enforce gun laws in Mississippi. These efforts help to make the citizens of Mississippi safer every day.”

“The use of 3-D printers to unlawfully manufacture firearms, and to make devices to convert semiautomatic firearms into machine guns, poses a real and current threat to our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kurt Thielhorn.  “ATF is committed to investigate and seek prosecution of these cases to the fullest extent of the law in order to protect our citizens.”

Newhouse will be sentenced on December 2, 2022, at 9:00 a.m.  He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of felon in possession of a firearm; and 10 years and a $250,000 fine for engaging in business as a manufacturer of firearms.  A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Jackson Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew W. Eichner and Jessica Terrill are prosecuting 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.

 

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Updated September 2, 2022