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U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder with the Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that an Anchorage man has been charged with illegal possession of a machine gun and silencer and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.
20-year-old Michael Lee Graves has been formally charged with the two counts. He was arrested on May 7th and ordered held pending trial.
The FBI began focussing on Graves after they were notified of “racially motivated extremist views” on social media accounts. They were also told that he had weapons and the caller expressed concern that he had the potential for violence.
That very same day the U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package shipped from China and addressed to Graves. Inside the package was found “a full auto selector switch for a Glock handgun,” DoJ reported. That selector switch is designed to convert a semi-automatic Glock into a machinegun.
On the day of Grave’s arrest, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service performed a controlled delivery to Grave’s address. Graves informed authorities that he had ordered the illegal part online.
A search of the suspect’s apartment was conducted and two silencers were discovered. Graves admitted to building the silencers from parts ordered online. One of the silencers had a swastika and the numbers “1488,” which is the patch designation used by “made members” of the violent Alaska whites-only prison gang.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the U.S. Customs and Border Control (CBP), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation leading to the charges in this case.
The investigation was initiated because of a tip from a concerned citizen, DoJ reports.