MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Chief U.S. District Judge Gina Groh sentenced a man from West Virginia’s eastern panhandle to five years in federal prison for unlawfully possessing a firearm silencer, United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld announced.
Timothy Watson, 31 of Ranson, pleaded guilty in March 2021 to one count of “Possession of Unregistered Firearm Silencer.” Watson admitted to having an unregistered silencer in November 2020 in Jefferson County.
U.S. Attorneys presented evidence Wednesday that Watson’s conduct also involved his manufacture and transfer of hundreds of machinegun conversion devices for AR-15 style rifles, also known as “drop in auto sears,” to nearly 800 individuals including individuals whom he had reason to believe were adherents to an extremist political movement referred to as “Boogaloo,” a term referencing an impending civil war or violent uprising against the government for perceived incursions on U.S. Constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment, according to Ihlenfeld’s office. From those sales, the FBI opened matters involving 58 individuals, resulting to date in three firearms-related arrests and one conviction. Many of the investigations remain ongoing, said a news release.
Watson was ordered to forfeit the silencer, all 3D-printed items that the government will argue are machinegun conversion devices, the 3D printers, 3D printer parts, and 3D printer supplies, as well as a U.S. Postal Service package containing the same conversion devices. All items were seized during a search in November 2020.
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service continues its investigation in the case.
Watson remains in the Eastern Regional Jail awaiting a transfer to a federal facility.