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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

October 29, 2009

Joseph P. Russoniello, United States Attorney

Contact: Joshua Eaton

(415) 436-6958

Crescent City Man Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison For Dealing In Machine Guns

SAN FRANCISCO — Donald E. Nuss was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay a $6,000 fine and $5,950 in restitution for illegally dealing in firearms, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

Nuss pleaded guilty on June 11, 2009 to illegally dealing in firearms. According to the plea agreement, Nuss admitted that over a one year period he sold five machine guns and converted two semi-automatic rifles into machine guns for a government informant. Nuss also admitted to illegally possessing ten more machine guns in a safe at his workplace in Crescent City, Calif.

Nuss, 69, of Crescent City, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 14, 2008. He was charged with illegally possessing and dealing in machine guns.

According to the plea agreement, the machine guns that Nuss manufactured, refurbished, and sold included an AK-47, Sten machine guns, Suomi machine guns, Skorpion machine pistols and a Thompson machine gun, as well as high-capacity magazines.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton following a guilty plea to one count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A). Judge Hamilton also sentenced the defendant to a three-year period of supervised release. The defendant will begin serving the sentence on Jan. 8, 2010.

Owen Martikan is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecuted the case, with the assistance of Marina Ponomarchuk. The prosecution is the result of a two-year investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

Further Information:

Case #: CR08-0719 PJH

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Web site at

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s Web site at

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by e-mail at