A San Diego man was sentenced to 75 months in federal prison on Tuesday on more than a dozen criminal counts for running what prosecutors are calling a “firearms and ammunition factory” out of his home.
Joshua Pratchard was arrested outside the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz., in June 2018 after revealing to an informant that he was making his own guns and ammunition at his home and engraving them with fake serial numbers using dates like his wife and son’s birthdays.
Pratchard attempted to join Arizona Border Recon, an armed civilian group that patrols the U.S.-Mexico border looking for undocumented immigrants and drug traffickers, in January 2018, according to The Washington Post.
However, he was kicked out of the group after attempting to use a silencer on an illegal rifle and getting “visibly angry” when group leaders told him he couldn’t “go hands-on” with migrants, according to the report.
A government informant who was present at the Arizona Border Recon meeting Pratchard attended began looking into him.
The two began going on reconnaissance missions to southern Arizona by themselves, and the informant was directed to keep Pratchard away from any place they were actually likely to see migrants, according to court documents, the Post reported.
Pratchard then revealed to the informant that he was making his own guns and ammunition at his home, according to court documents cited by the Post, and it is unclear how many weapons the Pratchard may have made.
Authorities only found four guns when they raided his home in June 2018, as well as four firearms that were registered to his wife. But they also discovered Pratchard had the equipment to make many more firearms, and he had gunpowder to make nearly 9,000 rounds of ammunition.
Authorities also seized three guns and 300 rounds of ammunition from Pratchard’s truck, according to the Post.
Prosecutors alleged that Pratchard had “a long history of violence and unresolved anger.”
He was dishonorably discharged from the Marine Corps for selling ecstasy pills and, in 2007, he was filmed repeatedly stomping on the head of a man whom he knocked unconscious during a fight in San Francisco, the Post reported.
He pleaded guilty to 13 criminal counts in February, including possession of a firearm by a felon, unlicensed transfer of a firearm and possessing an unregistered firearm. He told the judge that he became obsessed with making the weapons and that he would lie to his wife to miss church so he could work on the guns, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
Although the FBI originally did not arrest Pratchard because they reportedly wanted to see how many people he was selling the weapons to or if he was part of a larger network, authorities later found that “the risk wasn’t worth the reward” due to Pratchard’s behavior.
In 2014, he was arrested after his wife told police he threatened her and picked her up and threw her on a bed in their home.
Federal prosecutors pointed to one instance of Pratchard talking to his dog before he was arrested, reportedly saying, “Go get him. Go get him. Go get that Mexican.”