California man gets 5 years for selling ‘ghost gun’ SBRs to undercover agent
By Chris Eger
Smith met with an undercover agent twice, each time selling him a quartet of unregistered SBRs in exchange for bitcoin. On the third meeting, he was arrested. (Photos: U.S. Department of Justice)
The homebuilder sold eight unregistered short-barreled rifles to an agent he met on the Dark Web in exchange for cryptocurrency.
Michael Paul Grisham Smith, 44, of Grass Valley, was sentenced Friday in a Sacramento federal court to five years in prison for unlawful manufacturing and dealing in firearms. Court documents reveal that, over a 10-week period between December 2017 and February 2018, Smith assembled and sold a number of AR‑15‑style firearms without serial numbers to the undercover agent Homeland Security Investigations for $8,800 in bitcoin.
According to an affidavit filed on Valentines Day by HSI, an agent posed as a firearms vendor on the dark web and was contacted by Smith using the online identity of “BrotherBig” through a Swiss-based encrypted email provider about the purchase of explosives to include grenades and anti-personnel mines then morphed into selling guns. Over the next several weeks, BrotherBig negotiated two different sales, each of four AR-style short-barreled rifles. At first, he told the undercover agent that he would rather geocache the guns in a