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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

June 28, 2010

Laura E. Duffy, United States Attorney

Contact: AUSA William P. Cole
(619) 557-7859

Felon Gets 87 Months for Conspiracy to Transfer a Machine Gun

San Diego, CA — United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that Mark Allen Smrekar, a previously convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms, was sentenced today in federal court in San Diego by United States District Judge Larry A. Burns to serve 87 months in custody based on his previous guilty plea for conspiracy to illegally transfer machineguns and misprision of a felony.

According to court documents, on September 29, 2009, a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) was in San Diego for the California Tactical Officers convention, a convention for SWAT teams from around California. The FFL is licensed to sell firearms to military and law enforcement and was participating in the convention to demonstrate SWAT weapons. During the evening of September 29, 2009, the FFL’s van was burglarized, and firearms intended only for law enforcement or military use were stolen. Court documents reveal that Smrekar admitted that he possessed two of the machineguns stolen from the FFL; namely, one Heckler and Koch, model G36, 5.56mm machinegun and one FNH P-90 5.7mm machinegun.

Smrekar admitted that he transferred the two machine guns to his co-conspirator, Forest Hopster, to illegally sell the machineguns for $2,000. According to court documents, Hopster then attempted to sell the two machineguns to a methamphetamine dealer. The sale did not occur, in part, because agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) intercepted Hopster and seized the machineguns. Hopster, also a previously convicted felon, was convicted in state court on firearms violations.

United States Attorney Duffy commended the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives for their work in this case.

Criminal Case Number:
Mark Allen Smrekar, Age: 41, El Cajon, CA
Summary of Charges
Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 5861(e): Conspiracy to Illegally Transfer Machineguns
Title 18 United States Code Section 4: Misprision of a Felony
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives