Semi-Automatic Firearms Seized in Gun Sting - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Semi-Automatic Firearms Seized in Gun Sting

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A Canadian man faces federal charges accused of smuggling American guns across the international border.

Shawn Hartnell of Fort Francis, Ontario was arrested in Grand Forks Tuesday. He is facing three firearms, conspiracy and interstate commerce-related charges.

Undercover agents arrested Hartnell at the Settle Inn hotel. He allegedly sold them four semi-automatic rifles and two handguns for $24,000.

The gun sting was months in the making. Nearly a year had passed from the time undercover agents made contact with Hartnell to the time he was arrested.

In mid-April last year, police in Canada alerted Homeland Security Investigations in Pembina and police in Grand Forks that Hartnell was suspected of possessing and selling firearms in Canada.

Undercover Canadian police agents made contact with Hartnell. On April 30, they purchased two guns from Hartnell in Winnipeg.

More conversations about future purchases would follow through the summer.

Then, last December, Hartnell sent a text to one of the undercover agents saying, "Hey Ryan call me got something for you."

About a week later, Hartnell sent another text to the agent, saying he had "fully auto AR-15's at $4,000 a piece" available and 10 other guns.

A month later the undercover agent agreed to purchase six semi-automatic rifles. That is after the agent was texted pictures of the guns.

At the end of January, a telephone conversation with the agent and Hartnell. Hartnell was driving from West Virginia to Grand Forks. The two agreed to meet on February 5 for the sale.

At least two others are believed to be a part of this.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Chase says the case is still open.

If he is found guilty, Hartnell could spend at maximum of 15 years in prison.

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