Press Release: California Man Sold Firearms to an Undercover Federal Agent


U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced that a U.S. District Judge had sentenced a 44-year-old from California for selling AR-15-style “ghost” rifles to an undercover Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent through a darkweb marketplace.

AR-15-style “ghost” rifles

This guy also used a Protonmail email address associated with his personal email address that he used on Coinbase. His personal email address matched a PGP key in a public keyserver. During the investigation he managed to get arrested twice; once for shooting deer from the bed of his truck at 2am in an area where hunting was not permitted and a second time for burglary.

Criminal Complaint: PDF

Indictment: PDF

Announcement

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Michael Paul Grisham Smith, 44, of Grass Valley, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. to five years in prison for unlawful manufacturing and dealing in firearms, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.

AR-15-style “ghost” rifles

According to court documents, Smith contacted a firearms vendor on the dark web seeking to sell AR-15-style “ghost” guns. Firearms without serial numbers are sometimes referred to as ghost guns. The firearms vendor was in fact an undercover agent. Between December 1, 2017, and February 15, 2018, Smith manufactured and sold eight AR‑15‑style firearms without serial numbers to the undercover agent in exchange for payment in bitcoin.

This case was the product of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Quinn Hochhalter and Justin Lee are prosecuting the case.

U.S. Attorney’s Office