Missouri felon pleads guilty to selling a total of 7 machine guns

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A Missouri man on Friday admitted selling seven devices that convert AR-15-style rifles into automatic weapons.

Lamad Cross, 24, of Kennett, Missouri, in Dunklin County, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau to one felony charge of unlawful transfer of a machine gun.

The investigation began on Jan. 21, 2022, when police in Cape Girardeau recovered a Glock pistol that had a “switch” installed that converted it to an automatic weapon, according to Cross’ guilty plea. Investigators then traced the Glock pistol to a person who admitted that they had bought the pistol for Cross, who as a convicted felon is barred from purchasing or possessing firearms.

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

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

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

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

Cross is scheduled to be sentenced on May 4. Each charge carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

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.