Murfreesboro man convicted of smuggling silencers from England

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 50-year-old Murfreesboro man has been convicted of smuggling silencers into the United States from England.

A federal jury found Paul Gratton guilty of delivery of a firearm to a common carrier without written notice, illegal shipment of a firearm with intent to commit a felony, illegal importation of a firearm, illegal receipt of a firearm that had been imported, and unlawful possession of unregistered silencers.

He was acquitted of the charge of tampering with evidence.

Evidence at trial showed that in the spring of 2015, Gratton, who owns a helicopter servicing business in Murfreesboro, traveled to England where he purchased six firearm silencers, none of which had serial numbers, from a firearms dealer in Sheffield.

Authorities said he put some of the silencer parts into a DHL package, which he deliberately mislabeled in order to ensure that those silencers got through U.S. Customs without being discovered by the authorities.

Gratton put other silencer parts into his checked baggage and flew back to Murfreesboro.

Federal law enforcement officers later obtained a search warrant for his home, where they recovered the silencers and obtained a confession from Gratton.

Gratton faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. A sentencing date has not yet been set.