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Convicted Felon Sentenced To Federal Prison For Possessing Firearms, Including One With A Glock Switch

SHERMAN, Texas – The Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs says the court sentenced a Fort Worth man to ten years in federal prison for firearms violations.

Malando Bates, 24, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm on March 9, 2023. U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant’s sentence of 120 months was an upward departure from the recommended guideline range. In his ruling, Judge Mazzant noted that Bates had a history of firearm-related offenses, that he possessed a Glock with a Glock switch attached, and that, by Bates’ admission, he had possessed multiple fully automatic pistols.  Judge Mazzant further stated that a sentence of 120 months would serve to protect society.

According to information presented in court, on October 24, 2021, law enforcement encountered Bates after hearing gunshots.  Initially, Bates falsely identified himself as his brother and claimed he was a U.S. Marine.  Bates subsequently admitted to law enforcement that he lied about his identity because Bates was a convicted felon and knew the court prohibited him from possessing firearms.

Officials found Bates in possession of several firearms, including a Glock pistol with a Glock switch, also known as a machine gun conversion device (MCD), converting the firearm to a fully automatic weapon, a fully loaded 30-round magazine, and two AR-style rifle with loaded magazines. Glock switches are devices that are attached to the slide of a Glock handgun that convert the semi-automatic pistol into a pistol capable of fully automatic fire.

“Possession of firearms by convicted felons is inherently dangerous for society,” said U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs. “But that danger increases exponentially when prohibited individuals possess firearms containing switches that convert semi-automatic weapons into machine guns, which, within a matter of a few seconds, can fire multiple rounds with a single squeeze of the trigger.  Today’s sentence should send a clear message that anyone who manufactures, sells, or possesses a machine gun conversion device will be prosecuted federally and face serious consequences.”

The Federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts, prosecuted the case. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the community’s most pressing violent crime problems and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

The Highland Village Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracey M. Batson prosecuted this case.