A Minneapolis man has been charged in federal court with possession of machine guns after a search warrant executed at his residence in north Minneapolis discovered several “privately made firearms,” often referred to as ghost guns.
Charges say Aaron Malik Cato, 25, possessed auto sears and used 3D printers to manufacture auto sears out of his Minneapolis residence, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger on Wednesday.
Auto sears, referred to as “switches,” are small devices manufactured and used to convert semi-automatic firearms to fire automatically with a single trigger pull, rendering them into machine guns.
From the criminal complaint:
“On August 31, 2022, law enforcement conducted a controlled delivery of a package containing 30 firearm parts to Aaron Malik Cato, 25, at his Minneapolis residence. The package, which had been shipped from Taiwan and intercepted by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents, contained enough parts to create 10 auto sears, a device that turns a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm and is considered a machine gun under federal law. Upon searching Cato’s home, pursuant to a warrant, law enforcement recovered seven firearms, including five handguns and two AR platform firearms. Three of the handguns were equipped with auto sears and appeared to be Privately Made Firearms (PMF’s), or ghost guns. Law enforcement also found inside Cato’s residence four 3D printers and multiple 3D printed auto sears.”
Cato made his initial appearance on Wednesday in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung and was ordered to remain in detention pending further proceedings.
A search of Minnesota criminal records found no prior convictions for Cato.
Information presented to a Minneapolis City Council committee last month by the Minneapolis Police Department stated that over the past two years, a total of 4,138 fully automatic rounds have been fired in the city of Minneapolis from 390 activations. Using ShotSpotter technology, police first detected fully automatic gunfire on Aug. 13, 2020, at the intersection of East 37th Street and South 5th Avenue.
A police data analyst told the City Council last year that people have been shot or killed in Minneapolis by automatic gunfire.
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