The Copley home of a man the feds say is an illegal and unlicensed arms dealer was raided by ATF agents late last month. James W. Copley (yes, his last name and his town's name are the same), 54, became a target of an investigation after a customer of his was busted by Pittsburgh-based ATF agents in September and became a confidential informant, helping the feds gather evidence against the dealer, according to an affidavit filed by the ATF.
This is the second time Copley showed up on the ATF's radar, having been caught advertising an illegal rifle for sale on the site gunbroker.com in 2002 ("Copley entered a pre-trial diversion agreement with the United States Attorney's Office and agreed to forfeit six National Firearms Act weapons that had been seized from his residence," the affidavit says). During the current investigation, the informant said he purchased a "crate" of M228 grenade training fuzes (illegal to sell without a federal license, which Copley doesn't have) using the same site, corresponding with Copley through the same email address he used during his 2002 bust.
This fall, under the surveillance of the ATF, Copley emailed the informant about selling him more of the practice grenade fuzes, and he was watched by the ATF as he delivered them to the informant's home. Agents looked up the car's license plate and found it registered to Copley. In previous email correspondence, Copley told the future-informant his home address and that "I've been doing internet (arms sales) for 16 yrs."
On Oct. 16, after setting up another deal with the informant, Copley drove down south to pick up a freight of M228 practice grenade fuzes to bring up north. ATF agents in Columbia, South Carolina tracked Copley's RV to a campground in Myrtle Beach on Oct. 20 and, a few days later, an ATF agent watched as a federally licensed Alabama-based dealer loaded up the RV's underbelly with boxes assumed to be M228 fuzes.
The ATF had an Alabama State Trooper pull him over, and ATF agents got a search warrant on the RV (Copley refused to consent to a search), finding 1,344 of the grenade fuzes.
This became probable cause for the feds to get a search warrant at his home back in Ohio. That search happened on Oct. 24. Agents found the following in his basement:
Copley has not been indicted yet, but his stuff has been seized. Read the search warrant affidavit below (the last two pages are the search warrant results):
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.