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Press Release

Convicted Felon Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison for Illegal Gun Sales

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

BOSTON – A previously convicted felon was sentenced today in federal court in Worcester for illegally selling ghost guns. A ghost gun is a firearm that has been manufactured by an individual and not by a firearms manufacturing company.   

Zachary Zella, 30, of Dudley, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to 92 months in prison and three years of supervised release. In December 2022, Zella pleaded guilty to engaging in and conspiring to engage in the business of dealing and manufacturing firearms without a license. Zella was arrested and charged in June 2022 along with a co-defendant.  

“Ghost guns pose a real and imminent threat to public safety in our communities. When unregistered firearms get into the hands of prohibited individuals, we are less safe. Each of these illegal ghost guns could have been used in a violent crime, shooting or murder. Each bullet represents a potential shooting or homicide victim. Keeping illegal firearms off our streets and out of the hands of prohibited individuals is critical to addressing and eliminating gun violence,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “We pledge to do everything in our power to hold individuals engaged in illegal firearms sales accountable. Today’s sentence proves just that.”

“Zachary Zella is a now a twice convicted felon who has continued to demonstrate why he is a serious danger to the community. Most recently, Mr. Zella admitted to selling non-serialized firearms to us. With today’s sentence, this career criminal has been held accountable for his blatant disregard for the law, and for putting innocent people in potential danger,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “This investigation illustrates how the FBI is working closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and remove dangerous criminals and weapons from our streets.”

On three separate occasions between March and May 2022, the Zella sold a confidential source four 9mm ghost gun pistols – one of which contained a Gamo laser sight – and ammunition. 

U.S. Attorney Rollins, FBI Boston SAC Bonavolonta and Carol Mici, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Correction made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danial Bennett and Brendan O’Shea of Rollins’ Worcester Branch Office prosecuted the case.

The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated March 31, 2023

Firearms Offenses