Orange Park man convicted for selling machinegun conversion devicesJACKSONVILLE – A federal jury found Kristopher Justinboyer Ervin, 43, of Orange Park, and Matthew Raymond Hoover, 39, of …
Orange Park man convicted for selling machinegun conversion devices
JACKSONVILLE – A federal jury found Kristopher Justinboyer Ervin, 43, of Orange Park, and Matthew Raymond Hoover, 39, of Wisconsin, guilty on April 21 of conspiring to transfer unregistered machinegun conversion devices that they referred to as “Auto Key Cards.”
Ervin also was convicted of seven counts of transferring unregistered machinegun conversion devices, three counts of possessing unregistered machinegun conversion devices and one count of structuring cash transactions to avoid currency transaction reporting requirements.
Additionally, Hoover was convicted of four counts of transferring unregistered machinegun conversion devices.
Ervin faces a maximum penalty of 110 years in federal prison. Hoover faces a maximum penalty of 45 years in federal prison. The sentencing hearing will be on July 31.
Ervin was first charged on March 2, 2021, and Hoover on January 26, 2022. Both Ervin and Hoover have been remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, in January 2021, Ervin’s bank contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to report that employees believed that Ervin was trafficking machinegun conversion devices. Subsequent investigation revealed that Ervin was running an online business selling machinegun conversion devices, known as lightning links, etched into metal cards, which he referred to as Auto Key Cards. Ervin described the Auto Key Card as a “pen holder,” a “novelty,” and a “political sculpture.” A lightning link can be dropped into an otherwise legal AR-15-type firearm and converted into a fully automatic machinegun.
In February 2021, federal agents from the ATF and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service surveilled Ervin and observed him dropping off dozens of packages at an Orange Park, Florida post office, each of which was determined to contain unregistered machinegun conversion devices.
The ATF examined the Auto Key Cards and a firearms enforcement officer was able to remove the pieces of a lightning link from an Auto Key Card using a standard Dremel rotary tool in about 40 minutes. When the firearms enforcement officer placed the two pieces of the lightning link into an AR-15 type firearm, it converted the semi-automatic firearm to be fully automatic.
Hoover operated a YouTube channel called CRS Firearms, on which he advertised Auto Key Cards. In his videos, Hoover stated that “laws only work if we follow them” and encouraged his viewers to use “discreet ordering” by mail to purchase Auto Key Cards. Hoover stated that his viewers could cut a lightning link out of the Auto Key Card, “drop it in your receiver, scratch your full auto itch, throw it away when you’re done” and “no one’s the wiser.”
Hoover’s videos advertising the Auto Key Card led to a substantial increase in Ervin’s sales. Ervin sold more than 2,000 Auto Key Cards in only a few months. Multiple purchasers of the Auto Key Card testified at trial that they had learned about it from Hoover’s videos and purchased the Auto Key Card intending to use it to convert their AR-15-type weapons into machineguns. Ervin compensated Hoover for his advertisements by sending cash through the mail and, on one occasion, a Louis Vuitton purse.
In March 2021, federal agents executed a search warrant at Ervin’s home and recovered Auto Key Cards containing etchings for more than 1,500 lightning links.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Cofer Taylor and David B. Mesrobian are prosecuting it.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence and make our neighborhoods safer.
On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities and measuring the results.
Traffic stop for wrong tag,
seatbelt leads to significant drug arrest
MIDDLEBURG – An alert Clay County Sheriff’s Office deputy realized the tag on a pickup truck wasn’t assigned to the car, and the subsequent traffic stop led to a significant drug bust.
Amy Diane Crook. 41, of Jacksonville, was charged on April 20 with trafficking in fentanyl, possession of morphine, methamphetamine, crack cocaine, alprazolam, morphine, drug paraphernalia and amphetamine after she was stopped on County Road 218 for not wearing a seatbelt.
During the traffic stop, she was asked to show her registration card. When she reached across the center console to reach the glovebox, the deputy noticed she “slid a black off the center console onto a tool bag in the backseat.” The deputy also noticed a glass pipe.
According to the arrest report, Crook admitted using the glass pipe to smoke methamphetamine. She also admitted to using fentanyl.
A search of the car uncovered 11.6 grams of fentanyl and other illegal drugs and paraphernalia.
Crook’s bond was set at $560,023.
Wanted man returned to face attempted armed robbery charge
GREEN COVE SPRINGS – A man wanted since 2017 for attempted armed robbery was returned to Clay County from the Broward County Jail on April 19.
Donahue Roshane Anton Johnson, 30, of Miami, is accused of wearing a hood or mask while brandishing a gun during a robbery attempt on April 19, 2017, according to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
He was arrested on April 6 in Hollywood on the Clay County charge.
His bond was set at $500,003.
Keystone Heights couple
indicted for stealing mail
JACKSONVILLE – U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg announced the return of an indictment charging Connor Lee Austin, 31, and Maranda Ann Stewart, 26, of Starke, with mail theft. If convicted, each faces up to five years in federal prison, and they may be required to repay the victims.
According to court documents and public records, Austin and Stewart stole First Class mail over multiple months in 2022.
Austin appeared in federal court on April 19, according to a writ bringing him to Jacksonville from Florida State Prison, where he is serving a prison sentence of 36 months for grand theft, grand theft from a dwelling and burglary.
The court ordered Austin detained pending trial. Stewart appeared in federal court on April 17 and she was released on a bond. Their trial is set for June.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with valuable assistance from the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin C. Frein will prosecute the case.
Man arrested after being found with stolen boat, trailer
MIDDLEBURG – A tip from a resident led to the arrest of a man suspected of stealing a boat and trailer from Long Bay Road on March 9.
Robert Anthonly Gallion, 40, of Middleburg, was charged with grand theft after a resident followed Gallion to Everette Avenue on March 14. The witness said Gallion washed the boat and drove it behind his residence. Deputies also found another trailer that was reported stolen. When they tried to talk to Gallion, he fled on foot. However, he was caught several hours later.
Gallion told deputies he bought the boat and trailer for $500 after receiving cash from an ATM machine, but there were no bank records or surveillance footage of his withdrawal.
Gallion’s bond was set at $25,003.