NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man with a prior felony conviction today admitted illegally possessing a machinegun, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Anthony Reynolds, 26, of Newark, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to one count of possession of a machinegun, one count of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, and one count of possession of a machinegun not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On May 2, 2020, at approximately 8:40 p.m., Newark Police officers were conducting surveillance in marked patrol cars in the area of Summer Avenue and May Street in Newark, with the specific purpose of minimizing social gathering of citizens in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
As they traveled north on Summer Avenue, one of the officers observed several individuals congregating on the sidewalk within close proximity to each other. The officers stopped their patrol cars and exited their vehicles. One of the officers observed Reynolds remove a black handgun from the front of his waistband and place it underneath a parked vehicle. The officer then advised one of the other officers of his observations, at which point the other officer looked underneath the vehicle and observed a .40 caliber Glock 23 semiautomatic handgun which was loaded with 11 rounds of ammunition.
Law enforcement determined that the firearm was fitted with a Glock conversion device commonly referred to as “Glock Switch,” which has the effect of converting a semiautomatic Glock pistol into a machinegun.
A search incident to arrest revealed that Reynolds was also in possession of a small clear sandwich bag containing suspected marijuana and $655 in cash.
For each of the three counts, Reynolds faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 22, 2021.
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; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Craig B. Kailimai; and officers of the Newark Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan W. Romankow of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Violent Crimes Unit in Newark.