Southeast Mo. man sentenced 5.5 years for selling devices that convert AR-15-style rifles into fully automatic weapons

Man arrested for selling AR-15 devices
Published: May. 4, 2023 at 2:22 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SOUTHEAST Mo. (KFVS) - A Dunklin County man was sentenced 5.5 years in prison for selling seven devices that convert AR-15-style rifles into fully automatic weapons.

Lamad Cross, 24, of Kennett, Mo., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Cape Girardeau in January to one felony charge of unlawful transfer of a machine gun.

According to a release from U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Sayler Fleming, the judge ordered Cross’ sentence to run consecutive to any sentence he receives for violating his probation in a Dunklin County Circuit Court case.

Cross pleaded guilty in 2021 in that case to resisting arrest by fleeing.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the use of these devices on firearms in our area,” U.S. Attorney Fleming said in the release. “They are incredibly dangerous, and anyone contemplating their purchase or use needs to know that we will vigorously prosecute these cases.”

According to the release, the investigation began when police in Cape Girardeau recovered a Glock pistol that had a “switch” installed that converted it to an automatic weapon.

Investigators learned that a straw purchaser bought the pistol for Cross, who is a convicted felon and barred from buying or having guns, according to the plea agreement. He was also on probation from two state criminal cases at the time.

A confidential agent working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives contacted Cross via social media and asked about buying a Glock switch.

According to the agreement, Cross instead offered a drop-in “auto sear” that converts an AR-15-style rifle into an automatic weapon.

On September 19, 2022, a woman Cross knows delivered the device in exchange for $800. Cross later said he would send videos showing how to install the auto sear and said he could offer a lower price for bulk purchases.

Cross met the the informant on Sept. 27, 2022 in Cape Girardeau and sold three auto sears for $650 each. Cross also said that he was thinking about getting AR-15s so he could install the auto sears and then sell automatic rifles.

On Oct. 12, 2022, Cross agreed to sell three more auto sears for a total of $1,900 and used a different woman to deliver them to an undercover ATF agent.

He also said he’d sold two of the devices to someone else, although investigators say that claim has not been verified.

Although most of the devices were recovered by law enforcement, “Cross’s conduct posed a tremendous risk to the public,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Willis wrote in a sentencing memo.

Glock switches and auto sears, even if not installed in a firearm, are considered machine guns under federal law.