For Immediate Release
Man Sentenced to Four Years for Machine Gun Crime
A Dallas man who sold at least nine Glock “switches” – devices that convert ordinary semiautomatic pistols into fully automatic machineguns – was sentenced yesterday to four years in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Chad E. Meacham.
Martin Aviña, 34, pleaded guilty in July 2021 to conspiracy to possess unregistered firearms and possession of unregistered firearms. He was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge David C. Godbey, who noted that selling Glock switches into the community was extremely dangerous.
According to plea papers, Mr. Aviña admitted he possessed – and later delivered for sale – at least nine Glock switches, which are classified as machineguns under federal law.
Unlike semiautomatic firearms, machineguns – weapons that can fire more than one round, without manual reloading, by single function of the trigger – are generally unlawful for non-licensed civilians under the National Firearms Act. A pistol equipped with a conversion device (also called an “auto sear”) can fire up to 1200 rounds per minute, a faster rate of fire than the standard M-4 machinegun issued to U.S. military service members.
Glock switches have been linked to gun violence across the country, including the murder of a Houston police officer last fall.
According to court filings, Mr. Aviña and his coconspirators, brothers José Bermudez and Victor Bermudez, sold 20 Glock switches to an undercover agent in four separate transactions. The switches were advertised for sale on Snapchat and sold for up to $900 apiece.
José and Victor Bermudez, who each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess unregistered firearms and possession of unregistered firearms, are awaiting sentencing.
“Conversion switches pose a grave threat to public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham. “Quick and easy to install, these devices turn everyday pistols into highly lethal machineguns. While we respect law-abiding citizens’ right to bear firearms, we cannot allow sears to proliferate on the streets of Dallas.”
“Mr. Avina knowingly put machine guns all over the streets of our Dallas neighborhoods. By utilizing social media, these defendants were able to advance their criminal enterprise and put the lives of others at risk. ATF is relentless in its pursuit to investigate and arrest all those involved in the illegal sales of these devices,” stated ATF Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek II.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives’ Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation with the help of the Dallas Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Ricketts is prosecuting the case.