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Navy sailor convicted for dealing illegal machine guns in undercover ATF weapons sting

<i>Western Tidewater Regional Jail</i><br/>Patrick Tate Adamiak
Western Tidewater Regional Jail
Patrick Tate Adamiak

By Josh Campbell, CNN

A US Navy sailor who was arrested in a federal undercover operation targeting illicit weapon sales has been convicted of possessing and selling unregistered machine guns, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Patrick Tate Adamiak, 28, was indicted earlier this year in Virginia after special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives recovered numerous illegal machine guns, two grenade launchers and two anti-tank missile launchers in his possession, prosecutors said.

A jury found Adamiak guilty of three counts of receiving and possessing an unregistered destructive device, one count of receiving and possessing an unregistered firearm, and one count of unlawful possession and transfer of a machine gun, according to court documents.

CNN has reached out to Adamiak’s attorney for comment on the sailor’s conviction.

Lt. Commander Devin Arneson, Navy spokesperson at the Pentagon, confirmed that Adamiak is still active duty in the Navy. His Navy bio lists him as a master at arms first class.

Military records provided to CNN by the Navy indicate Adamiak first joined the service in 2012 and was most recently assigned to a unit supporting the USS John F. Kennedy supercarrier.

According to an affidavit, the ATF launched an undercover operation late last year after a confidential informant reported that Adamiak was involved in illegal weapons trafficking.

Court documents describe a series of controlled undercover purchases the ATF made using the confidential informant, paying Adamiak thousands of dollars for shipments of illegal firearm components.

Investigators were also able to link Adamiak to the dealings through an email he used to communicate with the confidential source, as well as the mailing address where Adamiak received payments for the shipments, the affidavit states.

During a search of Adamiak’s residence in April 2022, ATF agents found, “several suspected machineguns, documents, grenade launchers, and proceeds from illegal activity,” according to the affidavit. More than two dozen unregistered machine guns were recovered during the search, prosecutors said.

Adamiak is scheduled to be sentenced on March 31, 2023. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for each of the five counts for which he was convicted, the Justice Department said.

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CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe contributed to this report.

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