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More than 500 Glock switches intercepted in Tennessee

The switches effectively allow a handgun to fire at rates similar to automatic weapons.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Once, they even showed up in a toaster oven — tiny pieces looking like parts of a keychain.

They are harmless on their own, but deadly when assembled and attached to a pistol. So far, the Memphis port of U.S. Customs and Border Protection has confiscated 525 Glock switches.

News4 Investigates, a team of reporters with WBIR's Nashville sister station, first exposed the illegal devices that give pistols the power of machine guns. Now, CBP agents are finding that criminals in foreign countries are trying to slip the devices into the U.S.

“It’s always a game of cat and mouse,” said Benjamin Canfield, assistant area port director at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Using specialized X-ray machines to detect them, CPB is finding them being shipped primarily from Asia, hidden in packaging often labeled “machine parts,” intended to be sent all over the country.

“Right now, people can go online and find entities in China and elsewhere where they can purchase these, so they’re taking the path of least resistance,” Canfield said.

Canfield said once the illegal devices are discovered, the information about the sender is then shared with overseas and federal law enforcement agencies.

This story was originally by WSMV in Nashville.