Daniel Albert Crowninshield, 45, of Sacramento, California, pleaded guilty today to unlawfully manufacturing and dealing in firearms and possession of an unregistered machinegun, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner for the Eastern District of California.
In his plea agreement, Crowninshield, who was also known by his online moniker “Dr-Death,” admitted that he operated an unlicensed firearms manufacturing business out of C&G Tool, a metal shop in North Sacramento. Using sophisticated computer controlled machines, Crowninshield manufactured lower receivers for AR-15s and other firearms. Crowninshield did not conduct background checks, enforce waiting periods, or complete firearm transaction paperwork.
Crowninshield advertised such services on at least one online firearm enthusiast forum. This website mainly consists of forums where people ask and answer questions related to firearms. Crowninshield, using the moniker Dr-Death was a prolific poster on the website. Additionally, other members frequently posted about Dr-Death, including review of service provided and recommending that other users visit his shop.
“The manufacturing and unlicensed sale for profit of high-capacity firearms is a serious threat to public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We will continue to vigorously investigate unlicensed gun dealers and prosecute violations of the federal firearms laws.”
“Daniel Crownshield aka Dr. Death owned and operated a machine shop where he allowed customers with unknown backgrounds to use his machinery to unlawfully manufacture firearms for profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Jill A. Snyder for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). “ATF regulates the firearm industry and it is illegal to manufacture and sell firearms without possessing a federal firearms license and without conducting background checks. ATF's goal is to keep firearms out of the hands of prohibited individuals and prevent violent crime.”
This case is the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Firearms, with the assistance of the Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department and California Highway Patrol. Assistant United States Attorneys Justin Lee and Matthew Yelovich are prosecuting the case.
Crowninshield is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Judge Troy L. Nunley for the Eastern District of California on June 30. Crowninshield faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Eastern District of California DOJ / April 14, 2016