Albert Hendrik “Henk” Van Der Merwe, 46, of Crawfordville was sentenced Feb. 14 by United States District Judge Robert Hinkle to serve 12 months in prison for importing merchandise under false invoice and for receiving unregistered silencers.
Van Der Merwe will serve a three-year term of supervised release after his incarceration, during which he will be subject to search by his probation officer. As a consequence of this conviction, he cannot own or possess firearms. The court also entered an order forfeiting Van Der Merwe’s interest in three silencers and in an Uzi 9 millimeter carbine.
Van Der Merwe was arrested on April 10, 2013, after agents intercepted three silencers he had ordered from South Africa under an invoice declaring them to be motorcycle parts. Messages retrieved from Van Der Merwe’s e-mail accounts reflected that he had ordered another silencer from the same supplier in the past, that he wanted these shipped “discretely,” and that he was interested in obtaining additional silencers for friends. He requested that the silencer for the Uzi be “full-auto rated.” Examination of the weapon determined the Uzi had been converted to a machine gun.
U.S. Attorney Pamela Marsh credited the success of this prosecution to the joint efforts of the U.S. Customs Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael T. Simpson.