FORT WORTH, Texas — The Dallas ATF has made a significant arrest and taken down a major manufacturer of machine gun converter kits.
They’ve arrested Xavier Watson of Fort Worth for manufacturing thousands of machine gun converter kits, known on the streets as glock switches.
”He had approximately 80 of those conversion devices in his residency but also had two 3D printers that were in the process of making hundreds maybe 50 more and firearms in his residence,” said Agent James Vanvliet, Asst. SAC, ATF.
They also arrested Ayoob Wali, Jose Corral Santillan and Motavion Jones for selling the devices.
A glock switch is a little plastic device that is placed on the back of a semi-automatic weapon, typically a glock. They can be made with a 3D printer and sold for about a hundred bucks a piece and there are thousands on the streets.
”Its not a coincidence that some of the shooting scenes we see now there are more shots fired and more cartridge casings at crime scenes as evidence of those devices and machine guns being put out on the streets,” said Vanvliet.
In this most recent case the ATF says Watson was the main manufacturer who was distributing the devices to gangs in Fort Worth and shipping thousands of the devices across the country in children’s toys.
”Hiding them in Mr. Potato head toys. Mixed in with the mustache and the eyes from Mr. potato head were machine gun converter devices , plastic hard metal devices. Most people probably wouldn’t recognize if you didn’t know what you were looking for,” said Vanvliet.
The ATF says these devices on the streets pose a threat to the public and law enforcement who may not recognize the device when they see it on the streets.
”It’s scary and can make violent crime that much worse.”
Over the course of the investigation, ATF agents seized more than 650 conversion devices.
According to court documents, in early 2022, Fort Worth law enforcement noticed a surge in shootings involving the devices.
Court documents state that multiple criminal defendants identified Corral, a gang member, as a source of supply. Corral and his associate, Jones, led agents to Wali, who eventually identified Watson as the printer.
According to court documents, in March 2022, an undercover agent, accompanied by a confidential informant who connected with Jones via Instagram, bought 10 machinegun conversion devices from Jones. The defendant used a juvenile dubbed “little buddy” to deliver the devices to the agent. The following month, the agent purchased eight switches from Corral.
The agent asked Corral if he printed the switches himself; he allegedly replied that he did not, but “I got the guy that got the printer.” The undercover agent then overheard Corrall place a call to a man he referred to as “Whale,” later identified as Wali. The agent later asked if he could meet Wali, but Corral said the man was “paranoid.” Shortly thereafter, agents observed Corral meet up with Wali inside his car, then emerge with a bulging backpack under his sweatshirt.
Corral and Wali were arrested on May 3; Jones was arrested on June 6.
Wali initially claimed he found the machine gun devices in a vehicle he purchased, but later admitted his supplier was a man named “Xavier,” later identified as Watson.
According to the complaint, an undercover ATF agent went on to purchase a total of 33 conversion devices and a 3D-printed AR-15 style pistol from Mr. Watson, who bragged that he could produce roughly 400 switches a day on two 3D printers set up in his living room. He used a tablet to load conversion device printing directions onto the printer.
The agent met Watson at his home on Oct. 18 and Oct. 26. On both occasions, Watson assembled the conversion devices and showed the agent how to insert a conversion device into an AR-style firearm. On the second occasion, he showed the undercover agent the 3D printers and printed the switches while he waited. Watson acknowledged that he knew some of his buyers were selling the switches, and said that he had previously mailed devices to recipients by concealing them inside a children’s toy.
A criminal complaint is merely allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
If convicted, Watson faces up to a decade in federal prison.
Corral pleaded guilty on June 22 to unlawful possession of machine guns and was sentenced on Oct. 7 to 57 months in federal prison. Jones pleaded guilty to the same charge on Aug. 24 and is set to be sentenced on Dec. 13. Wali pleaded guilty on Nov. 16 and is set to be sentenced on Jan. 18, 2023.
The ATF Dallas Field Division conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Fort Worth Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank Gatto is prosecuting the case.