MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – A Jefferson County man has admitted to unlawful possession of a firearm silencer and federal prosecutors will seek an increased sentence for the manufacture and transfer of machine gun conversion devices, Acting United States Attorney Randolph Bernard announced Tuesday.
Timothy Watson, 30 of Ranson, has admitted to unlawfully possessing a firearm silencer, pleading guilty Tueday to one count of “Possession of Unregistered Firearm Silencer.” Watson admitted to having an unregistered silencer in November 2020 in Jefferson County.
According to the plea agreement, the government will present evidence at the sentencing hearing that Watson’s conduct also involved his manufacture and transfer of hundreds of machinegun conversion devices for AR-15 style rifles, also known as “drop in auto sears,” to hundreds of individuals, including people whom he had reason to believe were adherents to an extremist political movement referred to as “Boogaloo,” which is a term that references an impending civil war or violent uprising against the government for perceived incursions on U.S. Constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment. Based on this additional conduct, the government states in the plea agreement that it will ask for an increased sentence of 57(4.75 years) to 71 months (nearly 6 years) months of imprisonment. Auto sears are used to convert semi-automatic rifles to fully automatic weapons.
As a part of the plea agreement, Watson will forfeit all 3D-printed items that the government will argue are machinegun conversion devices, the 3D printers, 3D printer parts, and 3D printer supplies, as well as a U.S. Postal Service package containing the same conversion devices, that were all seized during a search in November 2020.
Watson faces up to 10 years of in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service continues its investigation in the case.
This case falls within the purview of the Attorney General’s Task Force to Combat Violent Anti-Government Extremism. Launched in June 2020, the Task Force is dedicated to supporting the investigation and prosecution of any person or group who commits violence in the name of an anti-government ideology.
Watson is being held in the Eastern Regional Jail, awaiting his sentence.