Fargo Man Convicted of Possession of a Machinegun and an Unregistered Silencer

FARGO – United States Attorney Mac Schneider announced today that on April 11, 2024, Patrick Opdahl, age 24, from Fargo, North Dakota, appeared before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Peter Welte and after three days of trial, a jury found Opdahl guilty of Possession of a Machinegun and Possession of an Unregistered Silencer.  Sentencing has not yet been scheduled.

On February 1, 2023, law enforcement was called to the residence of Patrick Opdahl that he shared with his parents.  Law enforcement learned that during an argument with his parents, Opdahl pulled out a firearm and shot it into the ceiling.  While his parents were able to escape unharmed, Opdahl refused to surrender leading to a several hour standoff with officers from the Fargo Police Department and Red River Valley Regional SWAT team.  Eventually, negotiators were able to talk Opdahl into peacefully surrendering to law enforcement.  Upon further investigation, law enforcement learned that Opdahl possessed several ghost guns, including a machinegun and firearm silencer. 

Privately made firearms – more commonly known as “ghost guns” – are especially attractive to dangerous and prohibited persons because of their untraceable nature. In 2022, the Department of Justice recovered 25,785 ghost guns in domestic seizures, as well as 2,453 through international operations.

“Illegal machinegun conversion devices are a threat to the public and to the safety of law enforcement officers in North Dakota,” Schneider said. “This is especially true when ‘ghost’ guns are involved. The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to prioritize the federal prosecution of those who possess illegal firearms and individuals who possess firearms illegally.”

“Firearms violence should not be the solution we use to solve disagreements,” said Special Agent in Charge Travis Riddle, of the ATF St. Paul Field Division. “We are grateful for the great partnership with Fargo Police Department and for the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, successfully prosecuting this case. Mr. Opdahl is rightfully going to be held accountable for his poor decisions.”

 This case was investigated by the Fargo Police Department and ATF and prosecuted by AUSA Richard Lee and Trial Attorney Katherine Raut.

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Terry W. Van Horn  701-297-7400  terry.vanhorn@usdoj.gov

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