A Sarcoxie man is facing up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to illegally possessing a machine gun and being a felon in possession of firearms.

Leng Lee, 36, pleaded guilty to the charges Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield in a plea agreement limiting the sentence he might receive to no more than 10 years. U.S. Magistrate Judge David Rush will schedule a sentencing hearing following the completion of a sentencing investigation by the United States Probation Office.

The convictions are the result of an investigation involving agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as well as Newton County sheriff's deputies.

Officers with the various agencies participated in the controlled delivery on April 23, 2019, of a package from China addressed to Lee. The package contained selector switches used to convert a Glock semi-automatic pistol into a fully automatic firearm, or machine gun.

The U.S. attorney's office in Springfield said in a news release Wednesday that Lee is a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms and is not licensed to possess a machine gun.

A search warrant executed at his residence turned up 18 firearms, more than 5,000 rounds of ammunition, some firearm suppressors, methamphetamine and marijuana, the U.S. attorney's office said. Lee told investigators that he was given a couple of the firearms by his father but bought the rest at gun shows or in private transactions. None were purchased from a licensed dealer, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Lee, who told investigators that he had ordered and received selector switches 10 to 15 times previously, has two prior convictions for burglary as well as felony convictions for vandalism, criminal conspiracy, grand theft and possession of a firearm as a felon.

Jeff Lehr is a reporter for The Joplin Globe. 

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