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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Missouri
Sayler A. Fleming, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, May 4, 2023

Missouri Felon Sentenced to 66 Months in Prison for Selling 7 Machine Guns

CAPE GIRARDEAU – A man from Dunklin County, Missouri, was sentenced Thursday to five and one-half years in prison for selling seven devices that convert AR-15-style rifles into fully automatic weapons.

U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr. ordered the sentence for Lamad Cross, 24, of Kennett, Missouri, to run consecutive to any sentence he receives for violating his probation in a Dunklin County Circuit Court case. Cross pleaded guilty in 2021 in that case to resisting arrest by fleeing.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of these devices on firearms in our area,” said U.S. Attorney Sayler A. Fleming. “They are incredibly dangerous, and anyone contemplating their purchase or use needs to know that we will vigorously prosecute these cases.”

“The possession and use of machine gun conversion devices is an emerging threat to the safety of our communities and the law enforcement officers who are sworn to protect them. This investigation and today’s sentencing send a very clear message that the use of these devices will not be tolerated,” said Bernard Hansen, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Kansas City Field Division.

The investigation began when police in Cape Girardeau recovered a Glock pistol that had a “switch” installed that converted it to an automatic weapon. Investigators learned that a straw purchaser bought the pistol for Cross, who is a convicted felon and barred from purchasing or possessing firearms, Cross’ plea agreement says. He was also on probation from two state criminal cases at the time.

A confidential informant working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives contacted Cross via social media and asked about buying a Glock switch. Cross instead offered a drop-in “auto sear” that converts an AR-15-style rifle into an automatic weapon. On Sept. 19, 2022, Cross’ girlfriend delivered the device in exchange for $800. Cross later said he would send videos showing how to install the auto sear and said he could offer a lower price for bulk purchases.

On Sept. 27, 2022, Cross met with the informant in Cape Girardeau and sold three auto sears for $650 each. Cross also said that he was thinking about obtaining AR-15s so he could install the auto sears and then sell automatic rifles.

On Oct. 12, 2022, Cross agreed to sell three more auto sears for a total of $1,900 and used a different woman to deliver them to an undercover ATF agent.

He also said he’d sold two of the devices to someone else, although that claim has not been verified.

Although most of the devices were recovered by law enforcement, “Cross’s conduct posed a tremendous risk to the public,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Willis wrote in a sentencing memo.

Glock switches and auto sears, even if not installed in a firearm, are considered machine guns under federal law.

Cross pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau in January to one felony charge of unlawful transfer of a machine gun.

During a January 5 press conference in St. Louis, local and federal officials warned of an increase in the recovery and use of Glock switches and auto sears, which make firearms difficult to control and “inherently dangerous.”

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Willis is prosecuting the case.

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