Leader of conspiracy group for drug and ‘switch’ trafficking sentenced to 6 years

One year and one day ago, 11 men were charged with drug and firearm trafficking.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 6:04 PM EST
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - 21-year-old Torez Burnett of Benton Harbor is said to have been the leader of an alleged conspiracy. A judge sentenced him on Thursday to six years in federal prison for distributing firearm conversion devices.

Police say these devices are the size of a Lego, and they can turn any handgun into a fully automatic machine gun.

This was a joint investigation led by the FBI along with ten other federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies contributing to this case. Police say these devices are very dangerous.

Switches can be made in both metal and plastic; it takes less than one minute to install into any ordinary semi-automatic pistol and transform it into a fully automatic machine gun.

Once installed, the pistol can fire over 1,000 rounds per minute with a single pull of the trigger.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan expressed why these devices pose a very large threat to the community everywhere.

”When I stood before you a year ago almost, on Dec. 15, When we did a press conference when we filed charges in this case. I said, and I’ll quote, at the moment, these devices are not widespread. I can’t say that now,” said Mark Totten, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan. “Today, these dangerous devices show up regularly. They pose an enormous threat to the communities, to our children, our law enforcement officers, and to anyone who stands in the way of their indiscriminate spray. Their destructive capacity is staggering, and they are helping fuel the gun violence epidemic we are seeing across Michigan and across the nation. Rendering deadly shootings like ever before.”

The FBI says Burnett was in the business of buying and importing switches from China through the mail and then selling them on his Facebook account.

He was charged with three counts of conspiracy to possess and transfer machine guns and one count of possession and transfer of a machine gun.