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Dept. of Justice: Windsor man sentenced to 3 1/2 years for drug trafficking and possession of machinegun

Byron Ellison possessed a “ghost gun” converted to machinegun

MADISON, WIS. – Timothy M. O’Shea, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Byron Ellison, 28, Windsor, Wisconsin, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 3 ½ years in federal prison for possessing heroin and fentanyl intended for distribution and possessing a machine gun. Ellison pleaded guilty to these charges on March 14, 2024. The prison term will be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

Between September 9, 2023, and October 9, 2023, Ellison sold a heroin and fentanyl mixture to an undercover officer on four separate occasions. On October 17, 2023, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Ellison’s residence. In a safe in Ellison’s bedroom, they found a loaded Polymer 80 9mm handgun with a “Glock switch” attached to it. In the same safe was a Mini Draco AK47-variant pistol and 13 grams of a heroin and fentanyl mixture. In a backpack in Ellison’s room, investigators found a loaded .40 caliber Polymer 80 handgun.

A “Glock switch” is an illegal after-market device that converts a Glock semi-automatic handgun into a fully functioning machinegun. A Polymer 80 is a privately made firearm (aka “ghost gun”) that does not have a serial number. Ghost guns are put together using components purchased either as a kit or as separate pieces.

At sentencing, Judge Conley recognized that notwithstanding Ellison’s criminal history, this would be his  first time being sent to prison.  Judge Conley also noted that this was a serious case because Ellison was a drug dealer who had a ghost gun with a switch, a firearm capable of spraying bullets in an indiscriminate manner. 

The charges against Ellison were the result of an investigation conducted by the Dane County Narcotics Task Force and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Stephan prosecuted this case. 

This case has been brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the U.S. Justice Department’s program to reduce violent crime. The PSN approach emphasizes coordination between state and federal prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement to address gun crime, especially felons illegally possessing firearms and ammunition and violent and drug crimes that involve the use of firearms.

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