West Texas Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Unregistered Firearm Silencers
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 10, 2014|
Midland resident and land surveyor Steven Leonard Prewit, age 54, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for possessing eight unregistered silencers in violation of National Firearms Registration requirements, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) Dallas Field Office Special Agent in Charge Robert Champion; and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Douglas E. Lindquist, El Paso Division.
United States District Judge Robert A. Junell also ordered that Prewit pay a $10,000 fine, be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison sentence, and surrender to federal authorities no later than March 19, 2014, to begin serving his prison term.
According to court records, a search by the ATF and FBI of both Prewit’s home and a ranch near Balmorhea on May 2, 2013, uncovered the silencers as well as a number of fully automatic machine guns and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Specifically, Prewit possessed eight firearms silencers, 18 fully automatic machine guns, one short barreled rifle, and four IEDs, all of which were unregistered. All eight of the unregistered firearms silencers did not have serial numbers or manufacturer’s markings as required.
The investigation into Prewit began in March of last year when ATF and FBI agents received information that Prewit was in possession of the items mentioned above. An FBI undercover employee was on the ranch with Prewit in both March and April of 2013 when he saw Prewit in possession of multiple fully automatic machine guns, silencers, and IEDs. Prewit admitted to the FBI undercover employee that none of the weapons, silencers, and/or IEDs was registered to him and that he knew they should have been.
“This investigation is an example of the hard work of ATF special agents and the excellent cooperation we have with our law enforcement partners. Because of this cooperation, we were able to seize these dangerous explosive devices, silencers, and machine guns to ensure they never found their way into our communities, and the violator faced justice,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Champion.
Under Title 26, United States Code, Chapter 53, any individual who possesses a machine gun, destructive device, or firearm silencer is required by federal law to register the firearms and/or devices with the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) National Firearms Act Branch (NFA). Before possessing such firearms, the person must complete and have approved an ATF Form 4: Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of the Firearm and pay a tax. After the application is approved, the firearm may be transferred and the person will be entered into the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.
On August 20, 2013, Prewit pleaded guilty to possessing the unregistered silencers. In exchange for Prewit’s guilty plea, the government agreed to dismiss charges which involved the possession of the machine guns and explosive devices. Assistant United States Attorney LaTawn Warsaw prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.