Grayslake man used 3D printer to make guns, gun parts, sheriff’s police say

A Grayslake man used 3D printers to illegally manufacture firearms and machine gun conversion devices, police said Thursday.

Charles A. Best, 31, of the 200 block of Highland Drive, is facing felony charges after an investigation by a Lake County sheriff’s task force. He had been under police surveillance and was arrested about noon Wednesday after police stopped his car about a mile from his home, sheriff’s Deputy Chief Chris Covelli said.

Charles A. Best, 31, of the 200 block of Highland Drive, Grayslake Courtesy of Lake County Sheriff’s Office

Once Best was under arrest, police searched his home and seized 64 machine gun conversion devices that appear to have been manufactured using a 3D printer, as well as pistol frames and rifle parts made with a 3D printer, Covelli said.

Three firearms, three silencers, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and two 3D printers were seized, too, police said.

Additionally, police said they found packages containing more than 60 grams of cannabis wax, a highly concentrated and more potent form of marijuana. The drugs have a street value of about $3,000, Covelli said.

The investigation leading to Best’s arrest and the search of his home began in April after the task force got a tip that Best was using a 3D printer to making parts that could be used to turn a semiautomatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon, Covelli said.

Best had been selling the printed guns and gun parts to people not legally allowed to possess firearms, such as felons or people without state firearm owners identification cards, Covelli said.

Best is charged with five counts of unlawful possession of a machine gun and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm silencer. Additional charges are likely, Covelli said.

Best was being held Thursday in the Lake County jail following an initial court appearance in the morning. A detention hearing is set for Monday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office received assistance on the case from local and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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