A federal judge has sentenced a former gun dealer from Canfield to nine months in prison for possessing an unregistered machine gun.

At a sentencing hearing, held Thursday in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Paul Groves was also fined $5,000 and placed on two years probation when he completes his sentence.

Groves who once operated the High Powered Armory on Market Street in Youngstown pleaded guilty in 2020 to possessing an MK 19 Mod-1, 40 mm caliber machine gun not registered to him.

According to a sentencing memorandum filed by the United States Attorney’s Office, Grove was caught with an MK19 grenade launcher, a “destructive device” capable of automatic fire while expelling explosive grenades.

According to Military.com The MK19 40mm machine gun can fire a variety of 40mm grenades. 

The public first became aware of the government’s interest in the former licensed federal firearms dealer when agents searched his Raccoon Road home in Canfield in September 2018.

The search was followed by an indictment alleging that Groves provided false information to fraudulently purchase military-grade weapons and resell them to illegal purchasers, who then resold them to Mexican buyers.

Co-defendant Eric L. Grimes of Columbus who operated Great Machine, LLC in Hilliard, Ohio, pleaded guilty earlier to engaging in the firearms business without a license. Grimes was sentenced to one day in prison and three years probation.

The indictment did not identify who received the guns in Mexico, or how the weapons were used.

The U.S. Attorney says that Groves attempted to transfer his federal firearms license to a girlfriend, but the transfer was denied. Grove's license expired in 2018.

A federal memorandum revealed a second search was conducted in relation to the case.

In June of 2020, investigators say a short-barreled rifle, still registered to Grove’s High Powered Armory, was seized from a crime scene in Youngstown which led to another search at the armory location, turning up seven more firearms and silencers previously unaccounted for.