When federal agents recently busted up a trafficking ring in New Jersey, they seized a wide variety of illegal goods, including nearly 30 homemade “ghost guns” and more than 15,000 doses of suspected fentanyl.
According to the Justice Department, six members of the Latin Kings gang face life in prison if convicted of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, while three others face more than a decade in prison for trafficking or possessing firearms.
Christopher Soto, 30, from Matawan, New Jersey, is still at large and believed to be a member of the gang.
These kits or 3D-printed parts are the building blocks for “ghost guns,” which are virtually untraceable firearms. Last year, the Biden administration mandated serial numbers on them and tightened rules on who can buy and sell the kits in response to a tenfold increase in reports of suspected ghost guns since 2016.
It was reported in a press release issued by the Department of Justice that in May of 2022, agents began digging into the organization’s drug distribution network. Several members were discovered to be involved in the illegal distribution of firearms, including those made with 3D printers in the comfort of their own homes.
In November 2022, police raiding a gang member’s home found two 3D printers busy making more guns, as reported by the press release. During the investigation, police were able to confiscate 28 complete ghost guns.
Three Devices Meant To Transform Semi-Automatic Firearms Into Fully Automatic Machine Guns Were Also Confiscated
More than 15,000 individual fentanyl doses were seized by police from May through December 2022, along with 100 bricks and 8,500 doses of suspected fentanyl on Wednesday, January 4.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Even in low doses, it can be fatal, so it is often combined with heroin, which is the leading cause of overdose deaths in the United States right now, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Justice Department estimates that there are several thousand Latin Kings operating in cities across dozens of states. It “engages in a wide variety of criminal activities,” but drug trafficking is where most of its money comes from.
Some Of The Ghost Guns That Have Been Confiscated By The Police Are Pictured Below
Three federal agencies and the state attorney general’s office in Pennsylvania looked into the case: ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) and USPIS (United States Postal Inspection Service). Scott R. Ford, an assistant U.S. attorney, is in charge of the prosecution.
Criminal charges are merely accusations. Everyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
After finding guilt, the judge will decide on an appropriate sentence in light of federal sentencing laws and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
Each offense carries a possible maximum sentence of 5 years in prison, a period of supervised release after release from prison, and a fine. The nature, circumstances, and seriousness of the offense; the defendant’s background and characteristics; the need to punish the defendant,
protect the public, and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational, and medical needs; and any other relevant factors required to be considered and weighed by the Judge under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Due to these considerations, it is not a good idea to base a potential sentence for a particular defendant on the maximum penalty allowed by law for the offense.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has stated, “Ghost guns are a danger to public safety throughout Pennsylvania and we must close the loophole that allows them to be sold without a background check.
” Local, state, and federal law enforcement “are committed to stopping traffickers of these untraceable firearms that have quickly become the weapon of choice for criminals” and “appreciate our partners’ efforts to hold these defendants accountable.”