Two men were sentenced in federal court Friday for “scheming” to turn semi-automatic firearms into machineguns and opening fire on federal agents.
Anthony Maseda, 21, and Erik Arreola-Torres, 20, of Jonesboro, were arrested on March 3, 2022, when special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Clayton County police went to execute a search warrant at a home in Jonesboro, according to federal officials.
The U.S. Department of Justice said that from January to March 2022, Maseda and Arreola-Torres had “conducted a firearm and machinegun trafficking operation” out of the home.
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On March 3, 2022, agents went to the house to execute a search warrant and take them into custody.
Instead, USDOJ said Arreola-Torres opened fire on the agents using a “fully automatic machinegun when the investigators arrived at the home.”
The guns were converted by Maseda, according to the Justice Department, using what’s called an auto sear, which is a federal felony. According to Ryan K. Buchanan, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, he got the item illegally by importing it from China.
Maseda, “a previously convicted felon, and leader of the operation,” was put on agents’ radar along with Arreola-Torres after the two began converting the semi-automatics to fully automatic machineguns, then advertising the sale of machineguns, auto sears, and semi-automatic firearms on Maseda’s public Instagram page.
The two sold a machinegun, a semi-automatic firearm, and multiple switches to an undercover informant at the home, which federal special agents used to obtain a search warrant.
When agents went to serve the warrant, officers were outside the Jonesboro home.
Arreola-Torres then picked up a machine gun and opened fire from inside the home, according to the USDOJ, “unloading dozens of rounds in the investigators’ direction.”
Officials said no one was hit or injured. When the scene was secured and both Maseda and Arreola-Torres were arrested, agents found six fully automatic machineguns, four auto sears, five firearms, and “numerous firearm parts and magazines, ammunition, bulletproof body armor, and distribution quantities of marijuana and digital scales.”
Additionally, USDOJ said one of the firearms had an obliterated serial number.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Maseda pled guilty to possession of a machinegun on Oct. 13, 2022, while Arreola-Torres pled guilty to possession of a machinegun and conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license on Oct. 17, 2022.
On May 7, both men were sentenced to time in federal prison. Arreola Torres will serve 10 years and one month in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, while Maseda will serve nine years, followed by three years of supervised release.
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