The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) searched a Houston, Texas, couple’s storage facility Monday after they notified the bureau that they had discovered a dozen fully-automatic M-16s in storage cases they had ordered.
A friend of the couple reportedly found the weapons inside a storage container the duo had gifted him for helping them stack cases over the weekend, according to ABC13. Upon opening the container, the friend purportedly found 12 fully-automatic M-16s, all of which contained tags of the names of the handlers and which branch they were a part of.
ATF and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) seized the container and the rifles within hours of reporting the firearms to the authorities, according to the outlet. ATF further obtained a search warrant for the couple’s storage unit in Richmond-area, Texas. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: House Judiciary Republicans Demands Answers From ATF Over Increase In Federal Firearm License Revocations)
The couple had purchased 108 storage containers from a website that sells military surplus equipment as part of their side-hustle of dividing up products they buy in bulk and reselling them, but did not expect the weapons to be stored inside, the outlet noted. Although the website contracts with the Department of Defense to sell supplies, they do not sell weaponry, ABC13 reported.
“It’s just a case, everybody can buy it online,” the wife told the outlet.
A Houston couple found fully automatic M16s inside some of the gun cases they bought off a surplus website. They called authorities. Some of you say they should have kept the guns. Um… that’s a felony & they don’t want to go to prison. https://t.co/AkjP32zFUa
— Miya Shay (@miyashay) September 27, 2022
“It’s incredible, it’s surreal, it’s unbelievable to think military-grade weapons would be shipped in containers, would be shipped across state lines,” Retired Houston police captain and former Marine Greg Fremin stated, according to KSAT.
“For these boxes to have M16s in them and be shipped to a public destination, not only is it shocking it’s a federal crime,” he added, the outlet reported.