Authorities allege that a Philadelphian assembled and sold “ghost guns” and suppressors from his home, assisted by two friends, ABC6 reports. The suspects are Tony Phan Ho, 32, Ritha “Kay” Ngoy, 36 and Michael Phan Nguyen, 32.
According to the Daily Voice, authorities started their investigation when authorities intercepted at JFK Airport in New York a package of parts for firearm suppressors arriving from China and addressed to Ho’s house.
Investigators said that Nguyen asked Ho to build guns for him, while Ngoy helped Ho hide the weapons. Nguyen also tried to purchase weapons for Ho, as Ho is ineligible to do so, a tactic called straw-purchasing.
Pennsylvania DA Kevin Steele, Homeland Security special agent William Walker and Hatfield Police Chief William Tierney accused the men of manufacturing “ghost guns” and illegal suppressors, as well as selling the items.
“Ghost guns” are guns without serial numbers assembled into the form that makes them legally a firearm. American gun laws consider only one part of the firearm to be legally the gun, the lower receiver, while all other parts can be purchased without restriction.
Finished lower receivers must be sold with the same restrictions as ready-to-shoot firearms, but in most states there are no restrictions on buying lowers when it is no more than 80% complete. Home gunsmiths can finish the receiver themselves and make it a legal gun, and in most states this is legal.
According to Ciccarelli Law, that includes Pennsylvania, but Ho was still banned from possessing and making ghost guns as a felon and under Philadelphia law.
Pennsylvania hit the three men with heavy charges—they’re all charged with Corrupt Organization (20 years), Illegal Firearms Sales (7 years), Dealing in the Proceeds of Unlawful Activities (20 years), Criminal Use of a Communications Facility (7 years), plus other minor firearms crimes and conspiracy. That adds up to a maximum sentence of at least 54 years, if they’re convicted on all counts.
Ho is facing even tougher charges, including Person Not to Possess a Firearm (10 years), Materially False Statements (7 years), Statement Under Penalty (90 days) and Make/Repair/Sell Offensive Weapons (5 years), adding over 22 years to his maximum sentence.
A preliminary hearing for all three of the defendants is scheduled for 9 a.m. on September 13th, in front of Magisterial District Judge Edward Levine. Montgomery County Assistant DA Samantha Arena is going to prosecute the case.
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