LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — A Concord man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on Wednesday after being accused of distributing large amounts of marijuana in the Lynchburg area while in possession of a fully automatic machine gun.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), 23-year-old Malik Lee Simpson pleaded guilty in February to two counts of possession with the intent to distribute marijuana, as well as two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

“A Glock switch – even when not attached to a firearm – is classified as a machine gun under federal law. When attached, these devices convert a firearm to being a fully automatic machine gun, and those who possess them, especially in the context of drug trafficking, will be met with severe penalties.” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said in a statement on Thursday, May 12. “Possession of a fully automatic machine gun in the context of drug trafficking crime triggers a 30-year mandatory minimum term of incarceration.  This defendant received a lesser sentence after fully accepting responsibility and preserving judicial and prosecutorial resources.  This case demonstrates my Office and the Department of Justice’s commitment to fighting gun violence and preventing fully automatic firearms from being in our communities in the Western District of Virginia.”

Court documents say that Simpson was seen taking part in a drug deal on July 11, 2019.  After authorities determined there was an active warrant for his arrest, they followed Simpson into a home; found a bag he had been carrying, which contained more 60 grams of marijuana and a Glock 22 handgun; and arrested him.

“Violent crime has no place in the Lynchburg community,” said Lynchburg Police Chief Ryan M. Zuidema. “I am grateful for the dedication of the officers who investigated this case and for the collaboration between the Lynchburg Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to bring this violent offender to justice.”

Nearly two weeks later, after Simpson was released, the DOJ says Simpson was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped for having a brake light out.

When officers smelled marijuana coming from the vehicle, they reportedly searched the trunk and discovered a backpack belonging to Simpson, which contained more than 40 grams of marijuana; a digital scale; and a Glock 19 handgun that was fitted with a machine gun conversion, also known as a “Glock Switch,” which makes the weapon fully automatic.

Investigators obtained Facebook records showing that Simpson had bought the “Glock Switch” from co-defendant Nathan Samuel Arthurs in May 2019.