MINNEAPOLIS (WJON News) – A Savage man has pleaded guilty to illegally possessing a machine gun.

According to court documents, in September of 2022, the FBI received tips from concerned citizens reporting disturbing behavior of a man at a gun range, later identified as 21-year-old River Smith.

In November and December 2022, Smith began communicating via social media with an FBI confidential source. The FBI’s investigation revealed Smith was preparing for a violent exchange with police. Smith stated he is “pro mass shooting,” sympathized with the Parkland school shooter, and expressed admiration for the person charged with the shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub.

The FBI also discovered Smith had access to an AR-style rifle, handguns, body armor, and a Kevlar helmet. In online messages, Smith discussed learning about his “enemy” by watching police bodycam shootings online.

According to court documents, on November 17, 2022, Smith asked a second informant for auto sears to convert his AR-15 style rifle and his Glock handgun into fully automatic machine guns. The informant told Smith that he could get the auto sears for him, and Smith provided him with a down payment of $60.

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On November 28, 2022, Smith asked whether the informant knew about M67 fragmentary grenades, which are hand grenades used by the U.S. military in close combat. Smith told him that he wanted three hand grenades to outfit his tactical vest and discussed a plan to buy the grenades.

On December 5, 2022, Smith provided the informant with a $200 down payment for three hand grenades, priced at $250 per hand grenade.

According to court documents, on December 14, 2022, under the supervision of law enforcement, a meeting between Smith and the second informant was arranged. At the meeting, Smith took possession of three auto sears and three inert hand grenades in exchange for $690 in cash. Smith was then arrested.

Smith pleaded guilty Tuesday.


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