Rene Saldana, a 23-year-old man from Corpus Christi, has been sentenced for conspiracy to traffic firearms, specifically machine gun conversion devices (MCDs), in interstate commerce, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.
Saldana pleaded guilty on September 14, 2023. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos handed Saldana a 36-month term of imprisonment to be immediately followed by two years of supervised release.
"The illegal manufacturing of MCDs presents a great danger to our communities," said Acting Special Agent in Charge Francisco Ortega of the Houston Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). "Holding illegal firearm possessors accountable through federal prosecution is one of our highest priorities, and ATF will continue to pursue those who endanger the public with the illegal possession or use of conversion devices."
Saldana was engaged in discussions regarding the sale of firearms and MCDs, devices that can be attached to legal firearms to convert them into machine guns, between May and June 2023. These attachments modify the firing mechanism of firearms to allow for automatic firing, making them illegal to possess under the law.
He agreed to manufacture and sell six MCDs for a total of $1000. Saldana ensured the functionality of the MCDs and arranged for their delivery to an individual he believed would smuggle them to another state. Authorities recovered all six MCDs sold by Saldana and an additional thirteen in various stages of completion at the time of his arrest.
"MCDs, commonly known as 'Glock switches,' present a unique and insidious threat to our communities," stated Hamdani. "This case involved an individual making MCDs in his home and then selling them to the highest bidder, without regard to where or how those MCDs would be used."
The investigation was conducted by ATF. Saldana was permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing.