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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 15 Years for Trafficking “Ghost Guns” and Drugs

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A North Carolina man was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for trafficking methamphetamine, cocaine, and firearms without serial numbers, also known as “ghost guns”, from North Carolina to Virginia.

According to court documents, Flavio Lopez Garcia, 27, trafficked over 140 grams of methamphetamine, over 57 grams of cocaine, and seven firearms from North Carolina to Virginia. Five of the firearms were “ghost guns”, as they did not have serial numbers or other identifying markers. Two additional firearms destined for Virginia were recovered during Garcia’s arrest in North Carolina. After bringing the contraband over state lines, Garcia sold the items in a combined drug and gun trafficking scheme in exchange for profit.

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. Click here for more information about Project Guardian.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mark Herring, Attorney General for Virginia; and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney/Assistant Attorney General Karolina Klyuchnikova prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-319.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated February 14, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Project Guardian