Virginia man who sold drugs and owned a fully automatic machine gun sentenced to 15 years | USAO-WDVA

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A Concord, Va. man who possessed a fully automatic machine gun while distributing large amounts of marijuana in the Lynchburg area was sentenced yesterday to 15 years in federal prison.

Malik Lee Simpson, 23, pleaded guilty in February 2022 to two counts of possession with intent to distribute marijuana and two counts of possession of a firearm in the prosecution of a drug trafficking felony .

“A Glock switch – even when not attached to a firearm – is classified as a machine gun under federal law. When attached, these devices turn a firearm into a fully automatic machine gun. , and those who possess them, particularly in the context of drug trafficking, will face severe penalties. U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “Possession of a fully automatic submachine gun in connection with a felony of drug trafficking carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 30 years. This defendant received a lesser sentence after fully accepting responsibility and preserving judicial and prosecutorial resources. This case demonstrates the commitment of my office and the Department of Justice to combat gun violence and prevent the presence of fully automatic firearms in our communities in the Western District of Virginia.

“Today’s announcement sends a clear and direct message that we take the illegal possession of handgun conversion devices very seriously. We are committed to maintaining the illegal possession and use of these devices as an investigative priority. We are extremely grateful for the results of this investigation,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson. “The ATF Washington Field Division will continue to work with our partners to ensure that those who violate federal gun laws and commit acts of violence are held accountable for their actions.”

“Violent crime has no place in the Lynchburg community,” Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan M. Zuidema said. “I am grateful for the dedication of the officers who investigated this case and for the cooperation between the Lynchburg Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to bring this violent offender to justice.”

According to court documents, on July 11, 2019, Simpson was observed engaging in a melee drug deal. After determining he had an active warrant for his arrest, law enforcement pursued Simpson to a residence and arrested him after finding a bag he was carrying with over 60 grams of marijuana and a Glock 22 handgun inside.

Nearly two weeks later, after being released, Simpson was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for having a brake light out. Officers smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle and during a search of the trunk discovered a backpack belonging to Simpson whose contents included more than 40 grams of marijuana, a digital scale and a Glock 19 handgun equipped a machine gun conversion, also known as a “Glock Switch”, which makes the weapon fully automatic. Facebook records obtained through the investigation showed Simpson purchased the “Glock Switch” from co-defendant Nathan Samuel Arthurs in May 2019.

U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia and Charlie J. Patterson, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF Field Division in Washington, made the announcement.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Lynchburg Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant United States Attorney Sean M. Welsh prosecuted the case.

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