Lexington man caught with modified automatic pistol sentenced to 37 months in federal prison

Lexington, Ky.–A Fayette County man was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison Friday following a June incident where he and another man were caught with pistols illegally modified with “Glock switches.” The man was not permitted to possess a firearm at the time because he was subject to a domestic violence order.

According to court records, on June 22, 2022, officers with Lexington Police Department observed a rental vehicle with out of state plates and dark tinted windows traveling in the area of Woodhill Drive and Hedgewood Drive. Officers said from their experience that it has become common for individuals involved in criminal activity, to include shootings and violent crimes, to apply window tint to rental vehicles in furtherance of their crimes.

Officers attempted a traffic stop and the vehicle fled. Officers discontinued pursuit, but a police helicopter was employed to observe the vehicle’s movements from the air. Law enforcement was able to position themselves at an intersection ahead of the suspect vehicle and “stop sticks” were utilized to deflate the vehicle’s tires in a controlled manner. The “stop sticks” were effective and the suspect vehicle eventually was disabled.

Two suspects fled from the vehicle, traveling in different directions. These suspects were relatively quickly apprehended by police not far from where they abandoned their vehicle. They were identified as Laybron Franklin, 27, and Cary Wilkerson Jr., 24. It was determined, and Franklin admitted in his plea agreement, that Wilkerson was the driver of the vehicle and Franklin was the passenger. Officers followed and searched the flight paths of Wilkerson Jr. and Franklin and located a firearm along each of their respective flight paths.

Both of the aforementioned firearms were Glock branded and were observed to be equipped with “Glock switches”. From training and experience, Affiant knows these devices may be purchased via the internet and are usually shipped internationally to a purchaser. These devices are capable of converting a semi-automatic Glock pistol into a machine-gun. These devices have been classified by the ATF as machine-guns and are contraband.

Criminal Complaint from ATF agent

Approximately 17.9 grams of a substance suspected to be heroin/fentanyl was allegedly found on Wilkerson, who has pending federal weapons charges as well, according to court records. Both men also face state charges over the incident. The judge in the federal case, Judge Gregory F. VanTatenhove, recommended Franklin’s federal sentence be served consecutively to any state sentence imposed.

ATF agents provide Glock switch danger demonstration
News segment: ATF agents demonstrate a “Glock switch”

Top photo: An ATF agent holds a “Glock switch” that converts a Glock handgun into a fully automatic weapon (KSDK News)