Two arrested in Richland for illegally manufactured machine guns

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Two central Mississippi males have been taken into custody for possessing illegally manufactured machine guns and narcotics.

On Friday, a member of the Richland Police Department FLEX Unit initiated a traffic stop on Highway 49 for a traffic violation. As the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed an individual making an unusually high amount of movement in the driver’s seat.

It was later discovered that the driver, identified as 22-year-old James Willie Stevens, was attempting to hide something behind the seat. Upon walking up to the vehicle, the officer claimed to detect a strong odor of marijuana while also noticing an unidentified 16-year-old male juvenile in the passenger seat possessing an AR-15 pistol with an extended magazine loaded with approximately 45 rounds.

Stevens told authorities that he was smoking a blunt while traveling back to Richland from Jackson, where he had just purchased the marijuana. While a search of the vehicle took place by law enforcement, the driver allegedly tried to get back into the car, reaching into the rear floorboard to grab another gun.

An officer detained the suspect and then located the other gun, which had an illegal device installed on the pistol that made the weapon fully automatic.

These devices are also known as a “switch” and they are reportedly being used more and more in violent crimes around the metro Jackson area. Whenever the officer located the fully automatic pistol, he noticed that the weapon was jammed, as if someone had attempted to shoot it but it malfunctioned.

Authorities also discovered illegal narcotics and a credit card scanner used for stealing individuals’ financial information in the vehicle.

Richland guns
Photo courtesy of the Richland Police Department

Stevens is charged with possession of a controlled substance enhanced with a firearm, possession of credit card reproduction equipment, driving under the influence of drugs, and other traffic-related offenses. No charges against the 16-year-old have been announced.

Following an investigation into the weapons and paraphernalia found in the car, a search warrant was later executed at a local apartment complex in Richland. Inside the apartment, officers located another handgun with a “switch” installed as well as an additional AR-15 pistol and more narcotics.

19-year-old Jermaine Demontae Mckinzie was taken into custody at the apartment complex. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance enhanced with a firearm.

An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms assisted local authorities in the investigation.

There is no state charge for the devices that makes the weapons fully automatic but there is a federal charge, so this case will be turned over to the ATF for prosecution. Under federal law, illegal possession of a machine gun or device warrants a punishment of up to 10 years in prison.

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