Nevada County man arrested after multi-agency search finds illegal weapons, BHO lab on property |

Nevada County man arrested after multi-agency search finds illegal weapons, BHO lab on property

John Robert Williams

A Nevada County man could face federal prosecution after local and federal law enforcement agents found illegal weapons and a butane honey oil lab on his property.

The investigation that resulted in Wednesday’s arrest of John Robert Williams, 31, was launched after U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a package from China, said Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Bringolf.

The package was en route to an address in the 12000 block of Old Stagecoach Road in the Chicago Park area and contained 15 “auto sears,” a gun part that converts a semiautomatic pistol into fully automatic “machine pistol,” said Sgt. John Dzioba, head of the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Unit. That part is illegal to possess in California and to ship federally, Dzioba said.

Special agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Homeland Security contacted Nevada County Sheriff’s detectives regarding the package, Bringolf said. Detectives began investigating and served a search warrant on the address Wednesday morning with the help of federal agents and Grass Valley Police detectives.

Five people were found on the property, including Williams, who was identified as the property owner, Dzioba said.

Williams reportedly was found to be in possession of a Glock pistol and a Smith and Wesson pistol, both of which were in the process of being converted to fully automatic machine pistols. Detectives also located two illegally modified AR-15 style assault rifles, and enough auto sears parts to convert 10 AR-15 rifles into fully automatic rifles.

“We also located a closed-loop butane honey oil lab, and an ounce of finished product,” Dzioba said.

Williams was arrested on suspicion of manufacturing controlled substances, possession of illegal weapons, and commission of a felony while armed, and was booked into the Nevada County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. The other four people on the property at the time are not currently under investigation, according to Dzioba.

Williams’ case remains local for now, but could become federal depending on the outcome of the ongoing investigation, Dzioba said.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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