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Press Release

Pierce County repeat offender pleads guilty to illegally possessing firearms – including machine guns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Cache of weapons discovered when defendant took car in for glass repair and workers spotted guns and bullet hole

Tacoma – A Pierce County, Washington man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to unlawful possession of a machine gun and unlawful possession of firearms related to his October arrest at a Fife, Washington auto glass firm, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Brady Lee Eltz, 39, is scheduled for sentencing before Chief U.S. District Judge David G. Estudillo on April 12, 2024. 

According to records filed in the case, on October 4, 2023, Fife Police were dispatched to an auto-glass repair shop where workers at the shop reported seeing firearms in the trunk of a vehicle Eltz brought in for repair. Workers also reported seeing bullet holes in the vehicle.

After law enforcement took Eltz info custody, they checked the bathroom at the business. Eltz had gone into the bathroom when he saw police arrive. In the cabinet below the sink police found two firearms – 9 mm handguns. One, a Glock, had an illegal switch known as an “auto-sear” installed. The switch allows the gun to be fired automatically, making it a machine gun. The Glock had been reported stolen. 

Fife Police towed Eltz’s vehicle and applied for a warrant to search it. During the search of the vehicle’s trunk, they found three additional firearms – including a stolen rifle that had been modified to fire automatically, making it a machine gun. Police then discovered a bag with two improvised explosive devices. Pierce County Sheriff’s Office bomb technicians were called in to evaluate the devices and make them safe. One was an explosive simulator likely stolen from the U.S. Army. It can cause serious bodily injury if exploded in a confined space. The second explosive was a thick cardboard tube filled with a black powder that appeared to be flammable.

After the explosives were made safe, police continued their search of the trunk and found two additional rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, latex face masks, body armor, gun sites, holsters, and other firearms accessories. Eltz also had GPS trackers, several knives, and a voice-changing device.

All of the guns, ammunition and auto-sear devices are being forfeited to the government.

Eltz is prohibited from possessing any firearms because of criminal convictions including a 2013 conviction in the Western District of Washington. Eltz was sentenced to five years in prison for that crime.

Illegal possession of a firearm is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Possession of a machine gun is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the Fife Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. The Washington State Patrol assisted with locating and arresting Eltz on a federal warrant after he posted bail and left state custody.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Marci L. Ellsworth. 


Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or

Updated January 10, 2024

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