Convicted felon busted for building and selling guns in California

A California resident is facing multiple charges for manufacturing and selling guns without a license from out of his home in La Jolla, just outside of San Diego.

Paul Joseph Holdy, 39, is charged with Distribution of Heroin, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Dealing in Firearms Without a License, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. If convicted on the gun charges, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the drug charges hold a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Last summer, Holdy became the subject of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Over the past year, Holdy sold a total of 19 firearms and varying amounts of narcotics to individuals who, unbeknown to Holdy, were undercover federal agents. The purchases included short-barrel machine guns, assault rifles, and handguns, as well as multiple silencers.

During his arrest and simultaneous search of his home, Holdy was also found to be in possession of an additional machine gun and two gallons of a substance believed to be GHB, commonly referred to as the “date rape drug.”

Authorities believe Holdy manufactured a number of the weapons himself using unfinished lower receivers. However, Holdy does not hold a Federal Firearms License that grants him the legal authority to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms.

Furthermore, Holdy was previously convicted on felony charges for possession of a controlled substance with intent to sale, a conviction which prohibits him from legally possessing – or selling – firearms, parts and accessories, or ammunition.

Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson said the illegal manufacturing and selling of guns poses a “tremendous danger” to the San Diego area and added that prosecuting such crimes is a “top priority.” ATF Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Eric Harden indicated that these guns often end up in the hands of convicted felons and gang members.

Likewise, FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric S. Birnbaum said such activities will not be tolerated.

“The FBI will continue to identify, disrupt and dismantle these traffickers in order to keep our communities safe,” Birnbaum said.