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Twin Falls man in prison after federal agents say he sold weapons to the cartel

Twin Falls man in prison on federal gun charges
Twin Falls man in prison on federal gun charges
Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-24 22:21:29-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A Twin Falls man is in prison on federal gun charges after agents say he illegally modified and sold guns to a cartel member in California.

41-year-old Arthur Michael Rhyne was sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for unlawful possession of firearms this week according to U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit.

According to court records, in August 2023, special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) began investigating Rhyne for illegally obtaining and shipping firearms.

Agents say they learned that Rhyne attempted to ship a loaded Glock 9mm pistol with a machinegun conversion device, called a “switch,” installed on the Glock.

A machinegun conversion device is a device that, when integrated with a semiautomatic firearm, will convert it to fire in a fully-automatic capacity.

In October 2023, ATF agents said they obtained a warrant and searched Rhyne’s residence in Twin Falls. Agents say they located 16 firearms, 14 machinegun conversion devices, 3 high-capacity drum magazines, 3 suppressors, more than 2,100 rounds of ammunition, including armor-piercing ammunition, and 78 grams of methamphetamine.

In addition to the Glock “switches,” agents also seized “Drop In Auto Sears,” which are machinegun conversion devices designed for a rifle platform firearm.

Twin Falls man in prison on federal gun charges

At the time of his arrest, Rhyne was prohibited from possessing firearms due to a 2008 California conviction for second-degree commercial burglary.

According to court filings, Rhyne told agents that he was transferring firearms and ammunition to individuals in California. Rhyne admitted that he was purchasing the items, including Glock switches and silencers from a person overseas and then sending firearms and Glock switches to California. He also discussed armor-piercing ammunition located in the safe and said it was purchased for his contact in California.

When describing his contact in California who was receiving the firearms, Rhyne described him being a cartel drug dealer and said he believed the guns were going to Mexico.

Rhyne pleaded guilty to the federal charge in December 2023.

U.S. Attorney Hurwit commended the work of the ATF, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Twin Falls Police Department, for their collaborative work on this case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Erin Blackadar and Christopher Atwood prosecuted this case.