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Man convicted of possessing converted machine gun in Houston | Texas

Houston, TX — A 39-year-old man has been convicted of possessing a converted machine gun, announced United States Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Christopher Victor pleaded guilty on August 14, 2023 to possession of a loaded .40 caliber pistol that was located under his seat. U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. has now ordered Victor to serve a 57-month sentence in federal prison, immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In imposing sentence, the court noted the violent nature and circumstances of the offense and found that Victor had a history of violent behavior, including prior convictions for aggravated assault and possession of a firearm.

Co-conspirator Melvin Wilkins, 41, of Houston, pleaded guilty April 7 to illegal possession of a firearm and was later sentenced to 59 months in prison. At the time of his plea, Wilkins admitted to possessing an AR-15 style rifle between his legs while in the backseat of a vehicle Victor was driving.

Law enforcement discovered that the rifle contained an additional part, which they determined to be a “switch.” A switch is an extra part added to a firearm to convert it into a machine gun or firearm that fires more than one shot without manual reloading. The rifle contained one round in the chamber and 74 rounds in the magazine. The safety was on and the rifle was in firing position.

As a machine gun and short-barreled carbine, the firearm must be registered by the owner in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Registry (NFRTR). Authorities verified that the firearm did not have any serial numbers or identification numbers printed, engraved or stamped on the lower receiver of the rifle. Wilkins cannot register the firearm in the NFRTR without serial numbers or identifying information.

As convicted felons, federal law prohibits Victor and Wilkins from possessing firearms or ammunition. Victor and Wilkins will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation in conjunction with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Southeast Crime Suppression Team and the Department of Houston police. Assistant United States Attorney Michael Day prosecuted the case.