Two men from the Austin area and an Arizona man are accused of manufacturing machine guns to smuggle into Mexico.
Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 28-year-old Tyler Carlson of Austin worked with 69-year-old Michael Fox of Georgetown to illegally acquire M-134G Minigun machine guns.
Fox is a former law enforcement officer and a federal firearms licensee. The M-134G is a six-barrel rotary machine gun that prosecutors say can fire between 2,000 and 6,000 rounds of ammunition per minute.
Investigators say Fox contacted 62-year-old Tracy Garwood, who owns Garwood Industries in Scottsdale. They say Garwood agreed to build the guns and supply Fox with parts for the machine guns.
Garwood allegedly submitted false paperwork to the ATF claiming he destroyed multiple M-134G rotor housings. Those parts must be serialized and registered with the ATF.
Instead, Garwood gave those rotor housings to Fox.
The federal investigators searched Fox’s Georgetown home in February 2017 and found three of those parts.
Authorities also say Fox built several M-134G machine guns, gave them to Carlson, who then passed them on to another person. That person smuggled the machine guns into Mexico.
“Firearms trafficking is a priority for ATF because of the increased potential for those guns to be acquired by the criminal element,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski.
“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,” said Special Agent in Charge Shane Folden, HSI San Antonio.
All three have been charged with a count of conspiracy to violate multiple federal laws, which could yield a federal prison sentence of up to five years each. Carlson was additionally charged with a count of possession of an unregistered machine gun, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison if found guilty.