Four Philadelphia men were arrested following a Morgantown gun show investigation that uncovered a ghost gun trafficking operation, authorities announced.
Authorities seized five fully assembled ghost guns, four 80% receiver kits, one 80% receiver, one Smith and Wesson revolver, extended magazines, and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro.
Ghost guns typically start as “80% receivers” that are often sold in kits without background checks. They can be easily and quickly put together, lack serial numbers so they cannot be traced, and, once fully assembled, can operate as fully functioning firearms, Shapiro said.
Najaye Davis, 19, allegedly purchased multiple 80% receiver ready-made gun kits with large amounts of cash at the Morgantown Gun Show on Feb. 27, Shapiro said.
He and a co-conspirator were reportedly then seen leaving the venue driving eastbound towards Philadelphia, Shapiro said.
Based on an investigation, Office of Attorney General (OAG) agents believed Davis was illegally making and selling ghost guns in Philadelphia, Shapiro said.
Davis is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a handgun in Philadelphia, Shapiro said.
Agents then executed a search warrant for Davis’ residence in Philadelphia, on March 5, Shapiro said.
During the search, agents seized three fully functioning unserialized ghost guns, one 80% receiver, $8,600 in cash, additional firearm parts including trigger assemblies, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, and multiple extended magazines both loaded and unloaded, Shapiro said.
The investigation also revealed that Davis was in a criminal enterprise that made and sold unserialized ghost guns in Philadelphia, making $500 on each sale, Shapiro said.
Malachi Matthews and Kenneth Manni allegedly purchased four 80% receiver kits at the same gun show on Feb. 28 and left, Shapiro said.
The car was reportedly surveilled until the men arrived at a residence on 21st Street in Philadelphia, where agents suspected an illegal gun manufacturing and trafficking operation was taking place, Shapiro said.
OAG Gun Violence Task Force and Organized Crime agents executed a search warrant on March 2 and recovered four 80% receiver ready-made gun kits, two fully assembled unserialized ghost guns, one Smith and Wesson revolver, two boxes of ammunition, multiple magazines, approximately thirteen packets of suspected fentanyl, two digital scales, and a drill suspected to be used in the making and assembly of fully functioning ghost guns, Shapiro said.
Matthews, Manni, and Montague Coker were on site at the “build house” while agents were conducting the search, Shapiro said.
Coker and Matthews reportedly attempted to flee through the roof of the home, Shapiro said.
Both Coker and Matthews are previously convicted felons and considered Persons Not To Possess a Firearm, Shapiro said.
“Ghost guns are fueling the gun violence epidemic that takes the lives of Pennsylvanians every single day. Once these DIY homemade gun kits are in the wrong hands, in mere hours they become untraceable, fully operational firearms causing so much senseless violence,” said Shapiro.
“The Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force and Organized Crime Section, along with our federal and local law enforcement partners, are working overtime to target these gun traffickers and get illegal guns off our streets.”
Matthews, Manni, and Coker were arrested on March 2. Matthews and Coker are both being charged with three counts each of violation of the Uniform Firearms Act, and Manni is being charged with possession of a controlled substance, suspected to be fentanyl and other violations of the Uniform Firearms Act.
These cases are being prosecuted by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Gun Violence Task Force.
Davis was arrested on March 5 and is being charged with six counts of illegal transfer of a firearm, one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds, one count of corrupt organizations, and one count of conspiracy.
This case is being prosecuted by the Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force.
These investigations were conducted in partnership with the Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force and Organized Crime Section, Philadelphia Police Department, Berks County Detectives, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
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