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Man deals illegal guns from garage in posh Bay Area suburb

A stock image shows a Glock 17 pistol in law enforcement’s hands. | Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

A Mill Valley man has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for illegally dealing firearms from his garage, the Northern California district of the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in a release Monday.

In a plea agreement, James William Palmer, 38, admitted to manufacturing and selling firearms for profit without a license from his Mill Valley home.

Palmer maintained a garage area for making firearms, from May 2020 to January 2021. Palmer had 71 assorted items connected to firearms manufacturing and dealing at his Mill Valley residence, according to a court memo filed for his sentencing hearing.

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Palmer used text messages to communicate with buyers and sellers, discuss amounts owed and negotiate prices—as well as meeting places for transactions. In one transaction, Palmer sold a Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol to a customer for $780, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release.

Palmer was driving his car with a loaded Glock Model 26 .45 ACP caliber semi-automatic pistol, two loaded .45 caliber magazines and ammunition tucked in his pant pockets when he was arrested in late January 2021.

Various firearm parts, tools and ammunition, as well as privately manufactured firearm jigs, a Glock pistol frame with its serial number plate removed—and a loaded P80 .45 caliber Glock-style semi-automatic handgun—were among the items discovered in Palmer’s garage by investigators, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

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In one text message, Palmer wrote he had been dealing in firearms in Marin County “for 20 years off and on,” the press release stated.

U.S. District Judge James Donato ordered three years of supervision for Palmer following his 37-month sentence.

The case is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s cross-jurisdictional crackdown on illegal firearms trafficking across five key regions in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento regions.