ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted a Falls Church man yesterday evening on charges of unlawful possession of unregistered silencers.
According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Hatchet Speed, 41, began panic buying firearms in early 2021. From February to May 2021, Speed purchased at least twelve firearms and spent more than $40,000 at stores that sold firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition.
In March 2021, during the midst of his firearm purchases, Speed purchased three silencers from a company in Georgia. While the silencers were marketed as “solvent traps” ostensibly to be used in cleaning the barrel of a firearm, they were actually designed to serve as silencers. The silencers were not registered to Speed in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, as required by law. By circumventing the registration requirements for silencers, Speed was able to take possession of the silencers within a week of purchasing them.
In early 2022, Speed met with an undercover employee of the FBI. During these meetings, Speed discussed his anti-Semitic, anti-government ideologies with the FBI undercover employee. Speed also discussed taking violent action in furtherance of his ideologies. Speed praised the approach of jihadists and suggested that their approach would be an effective way to “wipe out” the opposition, referring to Jewish people. Speed discussed his efforts to identify targets who were “reachable” by someone like him, stating that he thought about using a “mock trial” to decide which people to add to “the list.” During this discussion, Speed confirmed to the FBI undercover employee that he believed his “solvent traps,” meaning his unregistered silencers, would come in handy for this purpose.
Speed faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when sentenced on April 13. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Michael H. Glasheen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Counterterrorism Division; and Christopher Amon, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Washington Field Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Michael S. Nachmanoff accepted the verdict.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Traxler and Amanda Lowe are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:22-cr-165.