SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - A Scottsdale machine gun manufacturer and two Texas men have been federally charged in connection with a firearms smuggling scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Officials said 62–year-old Tracy Garwood -- who owns Garwood Industries in Scottsdale -- 28–year-old Tyler Carlson of Austin and 69-year-old Michael Fox of Georgetown were charged with one count of conspiracy to violate multiple federal laws, including possessing and transferring unregistered machine guns and unlawfully exporting firearms to Mexico. Carlson was also charged with one count of possession of an unregistered machine gun.
“We need to vigorously enforce the firearm laws that are on the books, and these charges are part of that mission,” United States Attorney John F. Bash said in a press release.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Carlson worked with Fox and Garwood to acquire and unlawfully smuggle 200 firearms, including .50 caliber rifles and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition to Mexico.
“By arresting weapons smugglers, law enforcement cuts the supply of firearms to the drug cartels, who fuel violence and pose a threat to citizens on both sides of the border,” Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, Homeland Security Investigations San Antonio, said.
The Department of Justice said Carlson worked with Fox -- a former law enforcement
officer and federal firearms licensee -- to illegally acquire multiple M-134G Minigun machine guns. Fox
then contacted Garwood, who agreed to help with the construction and supply Fox with M-134G parts, officials said.
According to the press release, Garwood submitted false paperwork to the ATF claiming he had destroyed multiple M-134G rotor housings, which is a key component of the M-134G that must be serialized and registered with the ATF. However, Garwood allegedly transferred possession of those rotor housings to Fox instead.
“Firearms trafficking is a priority for ATF because of the increased potential for those guns to be acquired by the criminal element,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski, Houston Division, said.
Authorities recovered three M134G rotor housings while executing a search warrant Feb. 8, 2017 at Fox’s residence in Georgetown. Two of the rotor housings were ones that Garwood told ATF were
destroyed, according to the Department of Justice's press release.
Carlson potentially faces up to 10 years in federal prison on the substantive unlawful possession of a machine gun charge, and each defendant faces up to five years for the conspiracy charge.
No further court dates are scheduled at this time.