Live Oak Father And Son Arrested And Charged With Unlawful Possession And Transfer Of Firearm Silencers

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest of Dustin Eward (44, Live Oak) and Greg Eward (24, Live Oak) on a criminal complaint charging them with the possession and transfer of firearm silencers that are not registered to them in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The complaint also charges Dustin Eward with threatening to assault and murder a federal law enforcement officer. If convicted on all counts, Dustin Eward faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and Greg Eward faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. 

According to the complaint, the Ewards are father and son who live together in Live Oak. In filings with the State of Florida, they are identified as the corporate officers of Eward Research, Inc. Via their company website, the Ewards nominally market “solvent traps,” which, in actuality, are firearm silencers or suppressors.  Under federal law, it is illegal for any person to receive or possess firearm silencers that are not registered to that person in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.  It is also illegal to transfer firearm silencers in violation of the National Firearms Act.

The complaint alleges that during two separate transactions in 2022, an undercover federal agent purchased a total of three firearm silencers from the Ewards. The agent communicated with Dustin Eward via an email address listed on the Ewards’s company website. Surveillance video captured Greg Eward mailing one of two packages containing silencers to the undercover agent.

It is further alleged in the complaint that Dustin Eward has a history of threatening law enforcement officers and public officials with violence, including in posts on YouTube, a personal website that he hosts, by phone, and by email. For example, on April 15, 2022, he emailed a federal agent and stated, among other things, “Your actions are an act of war against all Americans, and I will respond accordingly.”  He also stated, “I have nothing left to lose.  Arrest me?  Kill me? …. Death is an upgrade.  The only dream I have left is to take you with me.”  He further stated, “You will call off your attack, or I will defend myself the only way I have left; with maximum violence.”  He concluded the email, “I’m willing to die in this fight.  Are you?  I will not submit to satanic traitors.”

A complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Live Oak Police Department, the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office, and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.  It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kirwinn Mike and Michael Coolican.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the joint federal, state, and local Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Program, the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.