Feds Bust Alleged Drug And Gun-Running Ring On Charges Of Converting Pistols To Full-Autos

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced Thursday that charges have been filed against several Michigan men accused of running a drugs and gun ring and trafficking illegal firearm conversion kits.

Eleven men between the ages of 19 and 32 were charged with drug and firearm offenses, including trafficking “switches,” which make certain semi-automatic pistols fully automatic, according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Western District of Michigan.

U.S. Attorney Mark Totten said five of the eleven men were arrested in Thursday morning raids in Benton Harbor, Grand Rapids, and St. Joseph, Michigan, as well as Port St. Lucie, Florida, according to the statement.

“Five were arrested this morning, and five were in custody on prior charges. Seven men face charges related to the possession and transfer of firearm conversion devices, known as ‘switches,’ which transform ordinary semi-automatic pistols into fully automatic machineguns,” the statement read.

Around 200 law enforcement officers executed the arrest and search warrants on the grounds of drug and firearm trafficking, including distributing methamphetamine, conspiracy to possess or transfer a machine gun and possessing firearms while felons, the USAO reported.

“These charges represent a remarkable, multi-agency effort that involved the FBI and ten other federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners working together to keep West Michigan families safe,” said Totten. (RELATED: Nunchuks And Saw Blades: TSA Confiscates An Armory’s Worth Of Weapons From Carry-On Bag)

The criminal complaint said that on March 7, 2022, federal agents seized and opened two packages sent from China to a Michigan address previously registered to one Quincy Bowman. The agents found ten switches inside the package, which was addressed to “Brayden Bowman,” according to the complaint. After getting a search warrant for the residence, police detained Bowman, finding messages on his phone that linked him to other packages from China of the same weight and size as the seized packages carrying the switches.

“The collaborative effort and commitment between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, our Federal, State of Michigan, and Local partners to investigate and prosecute these cases protects our communities from this violent threat,” said Craig Kailimai, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for the Detroit Field Division.

The Detroit FBI led the investigation with assistance from several local, state, and federal agencies, including the Michigan State Police Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

The U.S. Marshals are still searching for one of the eleven men named Eric Williams, according to the USAO statement.