Feds indict Tucson man for cocaine possession, illegal automatic firearms

A 22-year-old Tucson man faces multiple federal charges after police officers found cocaine, weapons modified for fully automatic fire, and silencers in his vehicle, officials said Friday.

On June 5, a federal grand jury indicted Jesus Antonio Najar on nine federal charges including possession with intent to distribute cocaine, conspiracy, use of a firearm during a drug crime, possession of a fire with an obliterated serial number, and possession of an unregistered firearm—including a Glock 17 modified to fire automatically, a modified short-barreled rifle, silencers without serial numbers, and parts to make additional rifles fire automatically.

On April 19, Tucson Police Department officers spotted Najar driving a stolen vehicle. During a search of the vehicle, TPD officers allegedly found two drop-in auto sears, devices “exclusively used for converting a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon,” said Zach J. Stoebe, a Justice Department spokesman. 

Auto sears are a small cluster of metal and springs that allow semi-automatic AR-15s to fire automatically, without repeated trigger pulls. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms have said adding this part to the weapons can “convert such rifles into machine guns,” and unregistered auto sears are prohibited under federal law.

TPD officers also found an Aero Precision M4e1 “multi-caliber rifle” with the manufacturer’s serial number obliterated, as well as silencers without serial numbers—none of which were registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, Stoebe said.

Najar was later linked to the Glock 17 with a “machinegun conversion device attached,” a .45-caliber pistol, and a Del-ton Inc. DTI 15 “multi-caliber” rifle with a short barrel.

Najar will have his initial appearance in federal court on June 28, and he faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted. 

The indictment’s announcement came just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a ban on “bump stocks”—an add-on device for semi-automatic weapons allowing shooters to fire hundreds of rounds per minute. So-called “bump stocks” attach to the end of a rifle and slide back and forth to trigger the firing sequence. 

The add-ons were banned by the Trump administration in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history when a man set up an battery of weapons and fired more than one thousands rounds in just minutes, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500 at a 2017 Las Vegas music festival.

The court’s decision was narrowly cast, so other modifications like auto-sears can continue to be regulated by the ATF—for now.

On Tuesday, Justice Department officials also announced charges against a 58-year-old Prescott-area man, alleging he planned to shoot up a Bad Bunny concert in Atlanta to initiate a “race war.” He also sold rifles to an undercover agent as a vendor at the Crossroads of the West gun show, preferring “off book” trades, officials said.

The ATF, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, and TPD conducted the investigation in this case, said Stoebe. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie Sottosanti and Adam Rossi, District of Arizona, Tucson, are handling the prosecution.