Patrick Tate Adamiak, 28, is slated to be sentenced on March 31, 2023, after a federal jury convicted on weapons charges involving machine guns and antitank missile and grenade launchers. Western Tidewater Regional Jail photo.
Sworn to defend US Navy property and enforce military law, a Master-at-Arms is behind bars in Virginia, convicted of selling unregistered machine guns to an undercover federal informant.
Slated to be sentenced by US District Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen on March 31, 2023, in Norfolk, Master-at-Arms 1st Class Patrick Tate Adamiak faces up to 50 years in a federal prison after a jury found him guilty Friday, Oct. 21, of five counts of unlawful possession and sale of the firearms.
Adamiak, 28, was booked into the Western Tidewater Regional Jail shortly before 6 p.m. on Friday following his conviction. A member of Navy Security Forces, a Master-at-Arms is similar to military police personnel in the other armed forces.
His attorneys did not return Coffee or Die Magazine's messages seeking comment.
Like other military police personnel in the armed forces, the US Navy's Master-at-Arms sailors protect federal property and enforce military laws. Here, Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Benjamin Griffin of the Naval Base Kitsap Harbor Patrol Unit mans an M240 machine gun on board a Metal Shark patrol boat off Silverdale, Washington, on July 20, 2021. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Allen Lee.
The case against MA1 Adamiak began in late 2021, when a confidential informant told special agents at the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that the sailor was selling machine guns with cuts through the receivers or magazine wells that could be converted to operable weapons when welded back together.
On Oct. 26, 2021, the informant used the name “Rick Hayes” of Bat Cave Ordnance to email Adamiak at Black Dog Arsenal to purchase “Thompson things,” which were parts for a Thompson submachine gun. Adamiak sent him a photo of a Thompson receiver with a slit cut in it but instead proposed selling him a Soviet PPS-43 or PPSh-41 receiver with a single cut.
After haggling, he agreed to sell both receivers for $3,250 from his Virginia Beach home. He later sent the informant five Polish PPS-43 receivers, another PPSh-41, a Thompson M1A1 submachine gun, and a Russian RPD machine gun with a single saw cut through them.
Patrick Tate Adamiak, 28, was convicted by a federal jury on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, on five weapons charges. Prosecutors accused him of making tight saw slices in machine-gun receivers instead of multiple torch cuts that would make the firearms permanently inoperable. US Department of Justice images.
It’s legal in the US to own and sell machine guns, as long as the parties have the proper federal licenses and the firearms are registered. It’s also lawful to own and transfer an unregistered machine gun, so long as the receiver or frame has been rendered permanently inoperable, usually by slicing it into several parts with a cutting torch.
A single saw cut isn’t acceptable to the ATF. At issue during the probe was whether Adamiak intentionally sold the unregistered machine gun kits, knowing that they could be easily returned to automatic firing.
On April 7, 2022, federal agents raided two addresses tied to Adamiak in Virginia Beach, seizing what they said were five improvised explosive devices, 25 additional unregistered machine guns, a pair of grenade launchers, and two anti-tank missile launchers.
The federal jury convicted him of receiving, possessing, and selling unregistered machine guns, as well as possessing four banned destructive devices, which were the grenade launchers and anti-tank missile launchers.
Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, daughter of John F. Kennedy, speaks to sailors on board the future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy flight deck at Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Virginia, on Dec. 6, 2019, a day before the flattop was christened. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cory J. Daut.
Military records indicate that Adamiak enlisted in the Navy in 2012.
His duty stations include San Diego's Naval Base Point Loma, Maritime Expeditionary Security Force Two in Virginia Beach, and the pre-commissioning unit for the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy, which was built in Newport News, Virginia.
His awards and decorations include the Enlisted Expeditionary Warfare Specialist qualification, the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
He's currently reported detached from any duty station.
He was advanced to his present rank on Sept. 17, 2019.
Carl Prine is a former senior editor at Coffee or Die Magazine. He has worked at Navy Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He served in the Marine Corps and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard. His awards include the Joseph Galloway Award for Distinguished Reporting on the military, a first prize from Investigative Reporters & Editors, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
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