The Department of Justice charged a California man on Thursday with dealing heroin, illegally manufacturing machine guns, and illegally selling those same guns.
"Illegally manufacturing and brokering the sale of guns and drugs on the streets of San Diego poses a tremendous danger to our community," acting U.S. attorney Alana W. Robinson said in a statement. "Prosecuting firearms offenses is a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and we will continue our efforts to disrupt the availability of illegal guns in our city."
The Department of Justice alleges in a complaint filed in federal court that 39-year-old La Jolla, Calif., resident Paul Joseph Holdy sold a variety of firearms to undercover agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agencies say they covertly purchased 19 firearms from Holdy over the course of several months in 2016—included were a number of fully automatic firearms that Holdy had manufactured himself.
Since Holdy was previously convicted of dealing drugs, he was prohibited from possessing any firearms. Additionally, since he did not have a license to manufacture or sell firearms, he was prohibited from building or selling them.
"Firearms traffickers are responsible for the crimes committed with the guns they provide to felons and gang members," ATF Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Eric Harden said in a statement. "Felons cannot skirt the system by manufacturing and selling untraceable firearms from unfinished lower receivers. ATF will use its resources to strategically target and identify these criminals and interrupt the illegal flow of firearms to those who are prohibited from possessing firearms under the law."
"Illegal firearms and narcotics trafficking cannot be tolerated on our streets," FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum said in a statement. "The FBI will continue to identify, disrupt and dismantle these traffickers in order to keep our communities safe."
On top of the firearms charges, Holdy was also charged with distribution of heroin. The operation is the result of a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies as a part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. That task force focuses on disrupting and dismantling drug and weapons trafficking rings across the country.
Holdy now faces as many as 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.