Utah Gun Exchange co-owner charged with intending to distribute more than 1 pound of marijuana, other THC products

The co-owner of Utah Gun Exchange, known for following and counter-protesting Parkland high school students as they campaigned last summer for gun control, was charged Friday with intending to distribute marijuana after Sandy police searched his property and found marijuana, in addition to thousands of dollars in cash.

The firearms dealer, Bryan Alan Melchior, also is facing five third-degree felony counts that allege he illegally possessed guns while he was a restricted person prohibited from having them, according to court documents.

Although Melchior isn’t a felon, the common reason people face such charges, he is considered a Class II restricted person because of the marijuana — a Schedule 1 controlled substance — found at his home alongside the guns. District Attorney Sim Gill said if convicted of the drug charge, Melchior would be upgraded to a Class I restricted person and unable to legally own firearms for the rest of his life, unless the charges were expunged.

Melchior didn’t respond to The Salt Lake Tribune’s request for comment Friday.

In June 2018, someone reported to Sandy police suspicions that Melchior was selling drugs out of his home, according to a search warrant. Over the next few months, police received similar complaints from two others. People have also called police “several” times to complain about Melchior’s alleged marijuana use in his backyard, as well as loud music and parties.

Police began investigating the complaints by going through Melchior’s trash. Police first looked through his garbage on Oct. 14, finding four black tubes with commercial labels stating, “This is a marijuana product.” The tubes contained green residue that field tested positive as marijuana, the warrant states. Police also found two plastic bags with the phrases “Ultra Violet 1/2” and “Blue Dream” written on them.

Blue Dream and Ultra Violet are the names of strains of marijuana.

Police again searched his trash Nov. 1, finding another commercial container labeled with a marijuana strain name, Hardcore OG; wrapping papers; containers for pre-rolled marijuana blunts; and another plastic bag labeled “Green Queen,” another marijuana strain, according to the search warrant.

Police served a search warrant for Melchior’s home Nov. 13, and found multiple pipes and other paraphernalia, concentrated marijuana extracts, THC edibles, and marijuana in plant form. Police also found $36,247 in cash at the home.

Nearly 30 guns were found at the home, including one shotgun next to a refrigerator containing marijuana, the search warrant states.

Melchior has been an active proponent of Second Amendment rights as co-owner of the Utah Gun Exchange. Last summer, he followed Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students — survivors of a massacre at their Florida school — across the country as they advocated for gun control to curb mass shootings. Melchior tailed them with his supporters in a military-style vehicle to counter protest.