A federal judge in Virginia sentenced a Navy reservist to 36 months in jail on gun charges Thursday. The man has also been convicted of a host of charges stemming from his role in the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Petty Officer 1st Class Hatchet Speed, a cryptologic technician, was charged with three felony counts of possessing unregistered silencers, according to court documents that were filed in September 2022. Speed held a top-secret clearance and worked for a defense contractor.
Speed's participation in the riot that took place amid efforts to certify the 2020 national election was notable because, as court records later revealed, he had hopes of copying other famous domestic terrorists and praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
In March, Speed was found guilty of five charges related to his activity at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and he is still awaiting sentencing on those convictions.
In addition to the three-year sentence for the gun charges, the judge in Speed's case also fined him $15,000 and ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation
The Associated Press reported that Speed argued in court that the devices in question were "solvent traps" meant to collect excess fluid that would spill from a gun while it is being cleaned.
However, prosecutors argued that, despite the marketing, the titanium tubes that screw onto the barrel of a 9mm pistol are designed to be easily converted into silencers, which explained why customers were willing to pay more than $300 for them.
A firearms expert for the government testified that it would take 10 minutes to convert the device into a fully functional silencer simply by drilling a hole in the end for a bullet to pass through, according to Associated Press reports.
In documents filed on his Jan. 6 charges, prosecutors said that Speed told an undercover FBI agent in March 2022 that he was inspired by and sympathized with Eric Rudolph -- the man behind the deadly 1996 bombing of the Atlanta Summer Olympics -- and Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber.
Federal authorities said Speed told an agent that "it's useful to get into these people's heads and, you know, try and come up with a better game plan than they had."
The sailor also had praise for Hitler and the methods that Islamic jihadists took in accomplishing their goals. Speed said Hitler was "one of the best people that's ever been on this Earth" in a meeting April 7, 2022.
-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.