Newark police clearing a sidewalk of loiterers who were violating emergency social distancing orders found one of them carrying a modified machine gun, federal authorities said.
Ex-con Anthony Reynolds, 26, was in a group hanging out in the area of Summer Avenue and May Street when uniformed police assigned to minimize social gatherings approached them last Saturday night, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
The officers were there for “the specific purpose of minimizing social gathering of citizens in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Carpenito said.
One of them saw Reynolds “remove a black handgun from the front of his waistband and place it underneath a parked vehicle,” the U.S. attorney said.
It turned out to be a .40 caliber Glock 23 semiautomatic handgun loaded with 11 rounds, he said.
The gun, which wasn’t registered to Reynolds, was fitted with a conversion device commonly referred to as “Glock switch,” which Carpenito said “converts a semiautomatic Glock pistol into a machine gun.”
The part isn’t difficult to find. Online sellers from outside the United States offer it for as little as $30.
Federal authorities took the case and charged Reynolds with various weapons offenses, including possessing a machine gun, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and having an unregistered weapon.
He remained held pending court action.
The case is part of Project Guardian , the Department of Justice’s “signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws,” Carpenito said.
PROJECT GUARDIAN: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian
Carpenito credited special agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Newark Division and Newark police with the investigation leading to the charges, handled for the government by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of his Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.
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