OWATONNA, Minn. — An Owatonna man is facing a federal firearms charge after he reportedly told undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents that he had a sawed-off shotgun in his vehicle as he sold them firearms.

Dayton Charles Sauke, 22, is charged with a single count of possession of an unregistered firearm. Sauke was arrested on Jan. 15.

He made his first appearance in U.S. District Court on Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 19, where Judge David T. Schultz granted the prosecutor's motion to detain Sauke until his next hearing on Thursday morning.

The criminal complaint alleges that Sauke knowingly possessed an unmarked 12-gauge shotgun with a barrel measuring less than 18 inches that was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

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In an post on what appears to be Sauke's Instagram, he is seen in a short video firing what appears to be a sawed-off shotgun similar to one pictured in the criminal complaint. It is unclear when the video was taken, but it was posted to the account on Jan. 10. Sauke was arrested five days later.

The Olmsted County Sheriff's Office learned from a confidential informant in July that Sauke was selling narcotics and was engaged in manufacturing and/or dealing firearms without a license, according to court records. The confidential informant showed the sheriff's office screenshots of Sauke's Snapchats.

In December, an undercover special agent with the ATF friended Sauke on Snapchat and began monitoring his account.

"Sauke made numerous posts consistent with manufacturing and dealing firearms without a license, as well as using drugs and dealing drugs," the complaint states.

Between the beginning of December through Jan. 12, Sauke posted multiple times on Snapchat photos of a sawed-off shotgun as well as violent statements encouraging the murder of police officers.

Undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took screenshots of these images, which were reportedly posted to 22-year-old Dayton Sauke's Snapchat on Dec. 26, 2020.
Undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took screenshots of these images, which were reportedly posted to 22-year-old Dayton Sauke's Snapchat on Dec. 26, 2020.

On Jan. 14, Sauke arranged to sell a firearm to an undercover ATF agent the following day. Sauke met with the agent and a second undercover ATF agent on Jan. 15 in a parking lot of a business in Faribault.

"Sauke sold the privately made firearm to the first agent for $1,500. Sauke then discussed manufacturing additional firearms for both of the undercover agents," the complaint states. "Sauke told the undercover agents that he charges $450 upfront for each gun, followed by $250 once the firearm is complete. The undercover agents agreed to purchase two additional firearms from Sauke and paid him $900 toward those purchases."

Sauke was arrested after the controlled buy took place. Agents could reportedly see a "short-barreled shotgun next to a box of shotgun ammunition" on the floor of Sauke's vehicle. He had told the agents he had a sawed-off shotgun in his car and normally carries a 1911 firearm, the complaint states.

Undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took screenshots of these images, which were reportedly posted to 22-year-old Dayton Sauke's Snapchat on Jan. 8, 2021.
Undercover agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took screenshots of these images, which were reportedly posted to 22-year-old Dayton Sauke's Snapchat on Jan. 8, 2021.