Marin Man Charged With Firearms Trafficking And Being A Felon In Possession Of A Firearm

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SAN FRANCISCO – James William Palmer was arrested yesterday and arraigned today on charges of engaging in the unlicensed manufacturing and dealing of firearms and of being a felon in possession of a firearm, announced Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Patrick T. Gorman.

In a federal criminal complaint unsealed today, Palmer, 36, of Mill Valley, is alleged to be an unlicensed manufacturer and dealer of privately manufactured firearms and a convicted felon who possessed a firearm.  The complaint charges that Palmer was manufacturing and selling firearms from as early as May 2020 through to January 2021.  Law enforcement began investigating Palmer for firearms violations after examining text messages involving Palmer in an unrelated investigation.  On January 27, 2021, police detained Palmer and found him in possession of a Glock semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol and two loaded ammunition clips.  On the same date, police seized a number of items from Palmer’s home related to firearms manufacturing and trafficking.

This case follows the U.S. Department of Justice’s launch in five key regions of Cross-Jurisdictional Firearms Trafficking Strike Forces that are focused on disrupting illegal firearms trafficking.  One of the five Strike Forces was launched here, in the San Francisco Greater Bay Area and Sacramento Region.  The Strike Force identifies sources of illegally trafficked firearms and disrupts straw purchasing as well as firearms trafficking networks by collaborating in cross-jurisdictional efforts that include multiple federal agencies and multiple states and their local law enforcement agencies. 

Palmer made his initial appearance to face these charges today in federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero.  He was released on bond and is scheduled to return to court for his next appearance on October 7, 2021.        


Palmer is charged with one count of unlicensed firearms manufacturing and dealing in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(1)(A) and with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).  Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000.  Any sentence following conviction, however, would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

A complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis James is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Maribel Gallegos.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by ATF and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.

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