Glock switches found in Niles to be prosecuted at federal level

NOW: Glock switches found in Niles to be prosecuted at federal level

NILES, Mich.-- While five homicide deaths in one year might not seem like a lot, in a town of just about 12,000, it’s cause for alarm.

That’s exactly what’s happening in Niles, and now local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are teaming up to go after violent crime. They're also giving the public a warning over new devices called “Glock switches” which are creating an even deadlier risk.

“I’m here today, and FBI is as well, to send a message. We are joining hands with our local and state partners,” said Mark Totten, U.S. attorney of the western district of Michigan. “Niles is not a big place, just shy of 12,000 people. The devastation that this kind of violence can leave behind cannot be underestimated.”

Totten joined FBI Michigan and local law enforcement to announce a federal indictment against a 19-year-old man from Niles, Lawrence Slaughter II.

Lawrence Edward Slaughter II

“This last Wednesday, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Lawrence Edward Slaughter II of Niles, Michigan,” Totten said. “I’ll just remind you that the charges in an indictment are allegations only.”

His charges are being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing a machine gun.

“The emergence of firearm conversion devices is especially concerning,” Totten said.

Firearm conversion devices, or “switches,” are gun attachments that essentially create machine guns, or a fully automatic firearm.

“These devices, which are sometimes referred to as Glock switches or auto-sears, can fire over a thousand rounds per minute,” Totten said.

They’re being 3D printed, law enforcement experts say, or they’re coming from overseas.

“Not necessarily a new device, we’re seeing it across the country, popping up all over the place, particularly in neighborhood-based gang investigations,” said Devin Kowalski, action special agent in charge for FBI Michigan.

Officers asked for the public’s help in finding these people with these dangerous weapons—and you can leave a tip at Michiana Crime Stoppers, completely anonymous, at (574) 288-STOP.

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