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Navy sailor caught selling illegal machine guns in ATF sting, now convicted

ATF Agent (ATF/Released)
October 26, 2022

A U.S. Navy sailor has been convicted for illegally selling machine guns and possessing explosives devices after being caught selling eight machine gun parts to a source working for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

A federal jury in Virginia found 28-year-old Patrick Tate Adamiak guilty on Friday of three counts of possessing unregistered destructive devices, one count of possessing an unregistered firearm, and one count for selling an unregistered machine gun.

According to a Department of Justice statement on the case, the evidence presented at trial showed that Adamiak was obtaining and reselling illegal machine gun parts between October 2021 and April 2022.

Some of the illegal machine gun parts Adamiak offered to sell included receivers for World War II-era Thompson, PPS43 and PPSH41 submachine guns. The Thompson was widely employed by U.S. forces throughout World War II while the PPS43 and PPSH41 were largely used by Russian forces.

Possession and sale of automatic weapons is regulated through the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA). Adamiak had NFA-controlled weapons registered under his name, but ATF agents determined a PPSH-41 receiver he sent to an undercover ATF confidential source (CS) was not among Adamiak’s registered NFA items.

According to the affidavit, the confidential source the ATF used to catch Adamiak had previously sold firearms parts to the sailor. The CS told Adamiak he had met someone at the Knob Creek Range who was looking for Thompson parts. The Knob Creek Range is a gun range in Kentucky that’s famous for legally hosting machine gun shoots.

A federal affidavit states that in October of last year, Adamiak sold the CS a PPSH-41 receiver with that was sawed into two parts. Prosecutors argued the receiver could easily be “restored into an operational machine gun.”

After selling the CS the first PPSH-41 receiver, the affidavit states Adamiak sold five more PPS43 receivers to the CS in November. Those additional receivers were also sawed apart but are still considered machine guns because they could reassembled into working receivers.

In December, Adamiak sold the CS an Russian RPD receiver that again was cut into two parts. The RPD is a belt-fed light machine gun developed by the Soviet Union toward the end of World War II and which is still used by some nations to this day.

The affidavit states Adamiak sold another saw-cut PPSH-type receiver in March of this year. At the end of March, ATF agents working undercover offered to buy another PPSH machine gun kit and a Thompson kit.

ATF agents executed a search warrant on Adamiak’s home in Virginia Beach in April, and found 25 additional unregistered machine guns, two grenade launchers and two antitank missile launchers. The affidavit states agents also found five improvised explosive devices.

Adamiak faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the five counts for which he was convicted. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 31, 2023.

Lt. Commander Devin Arneson, a Navy spokesperson at the Pentagon, told CNN that Adamiak is still listed as active duty in the Navy at this time. Adamiak’s service records indicate he joined the Navy in 2012 and currently holds the rank of a master at arms first class.