Weld County Man Sentenced To Nearly 4 Years In Federal Prison For Smuggling Gun Parts Out Of The United States And For Possessing Unregistered Firearms | USAO-CO

DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn today announced that Michael John Suppes, age 47, of Weld County, Colorado, was sentenced today to serve 46 months (nearly 4 years) in federal prison for smuggling gun parts out of the United States and possessing unregistered firearms.  Suppes was also ordered to serve 3 years on supervised release.  Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) joined in this announcement. 

In addition to the prison sentence, Suppes agreed to a substantial forfeiture of assets that totaled nearly $300,000.  He also agreed to forfeit 123 firearms as well as firearm parts and ammunition.

According to the stipulated facts contained in the Suppes’ plea agreement, Suppes, who was not a licensed firearm dealer or manufacturer, willfully engaged in the business of manufacturing and dealing in firearms.  He exported firearm parts to buyers in other countries without obtaining an export license.  Furthermore, he possessed short-barreled rifles that were not registered under the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record as required by law.

Suppes operated a business, MJS Performance LLC, that sold firearm parts and motorcycle muffler parts.  Between January 25, 2015, and November 5, 2018, he, through his business, shipped over 1,200 domestic and international packages.  Suppes came to the attention of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) after it learned of multiple packages that contained concealed gun parts destined for other countries, including Saudi Arabia, India, and Cambodia.  The gun parts required an export license, which Suppes did not obtain.

Between December 2018 and April 2019, Suppes communicated with individuals who said they wanted to smuggle firearms into Mexico.  In April 2019, he agreed to sell one of the individuals 30 AR-15 and 20 AK-47 rifles as well as magazines and ammunition.  Suppes was arrested on his way to meet with the individual; he had the 50 rifles, magazines, and ammunition with him.  Most of the firearms were short-barreled rifles.

“Selling AR-15 and AK-47 semi-automatic rifles and parts to individuals in Mexico serves only to increase the violence there and the drug trafficking into the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “By taking this individual off the streets and putting him in a federal prison, we have stopped a significant pipeline of this deadly trade.” 

“Anyone who circumvents federal laws designed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and terrorists deserves to be in prison,” said Steven Cagen, Special Agent In Charge, HSI Denver. “HSI routinely works with the U.S. Attorney and law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute people like Suppes to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals based here and abroad.”

Suppes was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Treaster.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Tonya Andrews handled the asset forfeiture portion of this prosecution.  This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the Weld County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado State Patrol (CSP).

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.  Related court documents can be found on PACER by searching for Case Number 19-cr-291.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

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