Pair charged with illegal possession of unregistered and fully automatic firearm.
Troy Ron Aebischer, 30, of Blackwell, and John Harvey, 26, of Ponca City, have been charged for illegal possession of an unregistered fully automatic Russian AK-47 machine gun, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Aebischer is a member of the Blackwell Fire Department who holds a current federal firearm license to both purchase and sell firearms out of his home-based business located in Blackwell. Harvey is a patrolman with the Blackwell Police Department.
The federal complaints filed today alleges that on February 26, 2013, Aebischer contacted a Blackwell Police Officer seeking to sell the Russian-made fully automatic AK 47 machine gun.
It is further alleged that Aebischer bought the firearm from Harvey on or about February 17, 2013, after Harvey smuggled it back from Afghanistan following a military deployment. It is alleged the Blackwell Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives set up a sting operation which arranged for an officer to meet with Aebischer to examine and test fire the AK-47. The officer later arranged to purchase the weapon from Aebischer for $2,000 on Feb. 28.
Both Aebischer and Harvey were arrested on March 1, and appeared this afternoon in federal court in Oklahoma City. They were each released on $5,000 unsecured bond.
If convicted, Aebischer and Harvey each face up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The public is reminded that the complaint is merely an accusation and that the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. Reference is made to the complaints for further information.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and the Blackwell Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by United States Attorney Sanford C. Coats and Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward J. Kumiega.