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Virginia man sentenced after having machine gun while distributing pot

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Published: May. 12, 2022 at 7:42 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ/US Attorney’s Office Release) - A Concord, Virginia man, who possessed a fully automatic machine gun while distributing marijuana in the Lynchburg area, has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison.

Malik Lee Simpson, 23, pleaded guilty in February 2022 to two counts of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to the US Attorney’s Office.

According to court documents, in July 2019, Simpson was seen engaging selling drugs. After determining he had an active warrant for his arrest, investigators chased Simpson into a home and arrested him after finding a bag he had been carrying with more than 60 grams of marijuana and a Glock 22 handgun inside.

Nearly two weeks later after being released, Simpson was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for having a brake light out. Officers smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle, according to the US Attorney’s Office, and upon search of the trunk found a backpack belonging to Simpson, carrying more than 40 grams of marijuana, a digital scale, and a Glock 19 handgun fitted with a machine gun conversion, also known as a “Glock Switch,” Facebook records obtained through the investigation showed Simpson had bought the “Glock Switch” from co-defendant Nathan Samuel Arthurs in May 2019.

“Violent crime has no place in the Lynchburg community,” said Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan M. Zuidema. “I am grateful for the dedication of the officers who investigated this case and for the collaboration between the Lynchburg Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to bring this violent offender to justice.”

“A Glock switch – even when not attached to a firearm – is classified as a machine gun under federal law. When attached, these devices convert a firearm to being a fully automatic machine gun, and those who possess them, especially in the context of drug trafficking, will be met with severe penalties,” said United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh. “Possession of a fully automatic machine gun in the context of drug trafficking crime triggers a 30-year mandatory minimum term of incarceration. This defendant received a lesser sentence after fully accepting responsibility and preserving judicial and prosecutorial resources. This case demonstrates my Office and the Department of Justice’s commitment to fighting gun violence and preventing fully automatic firearms from being in our communities in the Western District of Virginia.”

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