Martinsburg, WV – A West Virginia man has been accused of providing members of the boogaloo movement with a part that allowed them to convert their AR-15 semiautomatic rifles into fully automatic weapons.
Timothy John Watson was arrested in September of 2020 after federal authorities determined that the metal wall hangers he manufactured and sold on a website could be used to convert the guns to fully automatic, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities have accused Watson of having made Drop-In Auto Sear (DIAS) parts with his 3D printer that change the gun so that when the trigger is pulled once, the entire magazine can be emptied, WV News reported.
DIAS parts have been illegal since 1981 after they were classified as machine gun converters by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF).
Prosecutors said that one of Watson’s customers was U.S. Air Force Sergeant Steven Carrillo, who has been charged with fatally shooting one federal security officer and seriously wounding a second in May and June of 2020, respectively, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators said they believed Carrillo is a “boogaloo extremist” who traveled to the anti-police riots in Oakland with the intent of assassinating law enforcement officers, NBC News reported.
Carillo has been accused of using a homemade AR-15-style rifle in two shootings and having worn gear with references to the boogaloo movement, the Associated Press reported.
Prosecutors said Watson also sold devices to two men in Minnesota who tried to use them to aid Hamas.
One of the Minnesota defendants told investigators they connected with Watson and his online business through boogaloo Facebook groups, the Associated Press reported.
Both suspects were “Boogaloo Bois,” part of a “sub-group” known as the “Boojahideen,” according to federal prosecutors.
Members of the boogaloo movement are anti-government extremists who want to engage in a civil war called the “boogaloo” in which they overthrow the U.S. government.
Under the terms of an agreement with prosecutors, Watson pleaded guilty on Tuesday to possession of an unregistered firearm silencer before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble in Martinsburg federal court, WV News reported.
As part of the agreement, Watson has to forfeit all of the 3D printers and parts, as well as devices that authorities have alleged are conversion parts that were seized by investigators in November of 2020, the Associated Press reported.
The plea allowed Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jarod Douglas and Lara Omps-Botteicher to go for a sentencing enhancement because of the alleged machine gun conversion, WV News reported.
Watson is facing up to 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced.
His sentencing date has not yet been announced but prosecutors have said they planned to seek enhanced sentencing due to the seriousness of his action, the Associated Press reported.
Court filings showed that Shawn McDermott, an attorney for Watson, denied his client belonged to “any so-called Boogaloo” movement.
McDermott said Watson “would reject any ideology that is based upon violence,” the Associated Press reported.
The attorney said that Watson operated a legal business making and selling hangers and that his client’s products are not made to create automatic machine guns any more than any other metal hanger would.