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  1. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
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  3. HSI Norfolk Investigation Lands Virginia Man in Federal Prison for Smuggling Machine Guns and Silencers Into Us

HSI Norfolk Investigation Lands Virginia Man in Federal Prison for Smuggling Machine Guns and Silencers Into Us

Release Date: March 14, 2024

NORFOLK, Va. — An investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Washington, D.C. field division; and the Virginia Beach Police Department landed a Virginia man in federal prison for smuggling machine guns and firearm silencers into the United States.

John Patrick Gordon Dane, 36, of Virginia Beach, received the four-year prison sentence Feb. 26 at the U.S. District Court in Norfolk.

“John Patrick Gordon Dane attempted to sell illegally modified weapons to Virginia residents,” said HSI Washington, D.C. Special Agent in Charge Derek W. Gordon. “In the wrong hands, these weapons could have caused a horrifying amount of damage and loss of life. HSI Washington, D.C. will continue to work tirelessly with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to investigate and apprehend anyone illegally smuggling and selling these weapons of war in the communities that we have sworn to protect.”

According to the investigation, Dane ordered firearm parts from black market websites. These parts included Glock switches, also referred to as auto-sears, which are small devices that can be attached to handguns, converting semiautomatic pistols into machine pistols capable of fully automatic fire. Because the auto-sear causes a firearm to expel more than one projectile with a single pull of the trigger, the part is classified as a machine gun under federal law.

Dane also purchased firearm silencers from the black market websites. The firearm parts were shipped to Dane’s residence with manifests that disguised the contents of the packages. Dane attempted to sell the illegal firearms and firearms parts on a public internet shopping website.

On Jan. 10, 2023, law enforcement officials executed a search warrant at Dane’s residence. During the search, investigators discovered that he used a shed on his property to assemble and modify firearms. Investigators seized 17 firearms from the shed, including an AR-15 rifle that had been converted to fire as a fully automatic machine gun. Investigators also located a Glock firearm with a large capacity magazine that had an auto-sear affixed to it in an attempt to enable fully automatic fire. Other firearms recovered from the shed included “ghost guns,” or firearms manufactured without serial numbers.

Dane had been convicted of a felony offense in 2012 in Virginia.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department of Justice launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: Fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

Anyone with information regarding the transportation or sale of illegal weapons encouraged to call the HSI Tip Line at 877-4-HSI-TIP (877-447-4847). The HSI Tip Line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Learn more about HSI’s mission to increase public safety in your community on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @HSI_DC.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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