Machine Shop Employee Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges of Illegally Manufacturing Assault Rifles and Silencers He Intended to Sell

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man pleaded guilty today to two counts of unlawful manufacturing and dealing in firearms, specifically short-barreled AR-15-style assault rifles and silencers.

Axel Fernando Galvez, 36, who resides in Watts, pleaded guilty to two felony firearm offenses before United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

Galvez admitted in court that he purchased components for firearms from multiple sellers to disguise the quantity he was buying. Galvez then finished the parts and assembled the assault rifles at a South Los Angeles machine shop where he worked.

On August 28, 2017, Galvez sold five of these assault rifles, through an intermediary, to an undercover operative with the United States Postal Inspection Service. Galvez believed that the undercover operative was a convicted felon and was going to resell the weapons in Egypt and the Philippines.

In further discussions with the undercover operative, Galvez negotiated the sale of another 100 homemade assault rifles, offering a bulk discount.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court, Galvez also admitted that he manufactured five silencers for firearms.

Galvez, who is being detained without bond, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Snyder on March 12. As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Galvez faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

A second man charged as a result of this investigation – Marcos Ernesto Chavarria, 31, of Inglewood – also pleaded guilty today and admitted conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. Judge Snyder is scheduled to sentence Chavarria also on March 12, at which time he will face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

During the investigation into Galvez, the Postal Inspection Service worked jointly with the Los Angeles Police Department Parcel Task Force. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center provide substantial assistance.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrew Brown of the Major Frauds Section.

Component(s): USAO – California, Central

Contact: Thom Mrozek Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California (Los Angeles) 213-894-6947

Press Release Number: 17-216 Updated December 11, 2017

Central District of California DOJ / 17-216 / December 7, 2017

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