For Immediate Release
Palm Beach County Resident Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Distributing Cocaine and Illegally Possessing a Machine Gun
On August 27, 2019, Fort Lauderdale U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas sentenced Ariel Figueroa-Cacheres, 22, of Palm Beach County, to 30 years in prison, after he previously pled guilty to possessing a machine gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute the controlled substance (Case No. 19cr90035).
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Ari C. Shapira, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Division, Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), and Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
In 2019, an undercover agent purchased cocaine from Figueroa-Cacheres on multiple occasions in Palm Beach County, Florida, after learning from an informant that Figueroa-Cacheres was in possession of Glock auto-sears. During the investigation, the undercover expressed an interest in purchasing Glock auto sears, in addition to the cocaine. A Glock auto sear, commonly referred to as “Glock switch,” or “Glock chip,” is an after-market device, which is designed to illegally convert a semiautomatic Glock-type pistol into a machine gun. Shortly after the narcotics purchases, agents executed a search warrant at Figueroa-Cacheres’ residence and seized a Glock, semi-automatic pistol, 3 Glock fully-automatic machine gun conversion switches, a distribution quantity of cocaine, digital scales, cutting agents, and packing materials used for narcotics sales.
Within the carport of Figueroa-Cacheres’ residence agents located multiple packages, ready to be shipped to Honduras, containing hundreds of rounds of ammunition, multiple high-capacity drum magazines, holsters, Glock stocks, and 17 additional Glock fully-automatic conversion switches.
Further examination by the ATF Firearms Technology Criminal Branch determined that the Glock switches were parts used for converting firearms into machine guns, and therefore classified as illegal, unregistered machine guns.
This case stems from Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. PSN was reinvigorated in 2017 as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of ATF, PBSO’s Tactical Unit, and HSI in this matter. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John C. McMillan.