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73-year-old man pleads not guilty in manufacturing of 'ghost guns'

2 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, June 23 2021 Jun 23, 2021 June 23, 2021 5:57 PM June 23, 2021 in News - Local
By: KRGV Digital
MGN Photo

A 73-year-old man accused of selling illegally manufactured and unregistered firearms suppressors destined for a Mexican drug cartel pled not guilty to his charges Tuesday.

William Scott Simms was arrested last month after meeting with undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to sell them an unregistered firearm silencer at an Edinburg business, the criminal complaint against Simms stated.

During the meeting on May 26, Simms showed the ATF agents 11 machine guns he had manufactured that did not have registration markings to prevent the firearms from being traced back to him, according to the complaint.

"Such firearms are commonly known as 'ghost guns' because they are more difficult to trace their origins," a news release on the case from the U.S. Attorney's Office stated. 

The undercover agents told Simms they wanted to purchase the machine guns for illegal export into Mexico to be used by drug cartels to fight Mexican law enforcement and rival drug cartels.

“Simms indicated that he would sell the machine guns knowing they would be illegally exported,” the complaint stated, adding that Simms was selling each machine gun for $10,000.

Simms was arrested following the meeting and made his initial court appearance on May 28 where he had his bond set at $30,000. He was indicted on June 15 on a charge of smuggling goods into the United States and two charges of possessing an unregistered firearm. 

On Tuesday, Simms pled not guilty to his charges. If convicted, Simms faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for each charge.

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