Arizona Man Charged With Selling Guns For Use In ‘Race War’ Mass Shooting


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PHOENIX, Ariz. – Mark Adams Prieto, 58, of Prescott, was indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on Firearms Trafficking, Transfer of a Firearm for Use in a Hate Crime, and Possession of an Unregistered Firearm.

The indictment alleges that, between January 2024 and May 2024, Prieto had discussions with two individuals working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to devise a plan to commit a mass shooting of African Americans and other minorities to incite a race war prior to the 2024 United States Presidential Election. Prieto did not know the individuals were working with the government, but instead believed that they shared his racist beliefs and wanted to commit a mass shooting to incite a race war. The targeted event was a concert in Atlanta that was going to be held on May 14 and May 15, 2024.

The indictment further alleges that, having discussed specific details about the planned attack, Prieto sold two rifles to one of the individuals, an AK-style rifle on February 25, 2024, and an AR-style rifle on March 24, 2024. During the entire investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation closely monitored Prieto’s movements. On May 14, 2024, Prieto was stopped by law enforcement driving east from Arizona through New Mexico along Interstate 40. Prieto was in possession of seven firearms and was taken into federal custody. Law enforcement then executed a search warrant at his home in Prescott. Law enforcement found more firearms in his residence, including an unregistered short-barreled rifle.

Each conviction for Firearms Trafficking and Transfer of Firearm for Use in a Hate Crime carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. A conviction for Possession of an Unregistered Firearm carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Phoenix Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation in this case, with assistance from the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Albuquerque Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and the Prescott Police Department. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, Phoenix, is handling the prosecution, along with the U.S Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, and the U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section.


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