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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Two Men Indicted For Manufacturing And Selling 28 Ghost Guns

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Samuel Snader, age 39, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and Hector Colon, age 30, of Puerto Rico, were indicted on January 5, 2021, by a federal grand jury and charged with conspiracy to manufacture and deal firearms, and manufacturing and dealing firearms without a license.      

According to U.S. Attorney John C. Gurganus, the indictment alleges that between August 2021 and January 2022, in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, Snader and Colon worked together to acquire firearm parts for the purpose of manufacturing and commercially dealing Privately Made Firearms (PMFs), often referred to as “ghost guns.”  It is alleged that Snader would manufacture the PMFs, which did not possess serial numbers.  Colon allegedly located potential firearm buyers and directed them to Snader who personally delivered the firearms in exchange for money.  In total, Snader and Colon allegedly manufactured and sold, without the required federal license, at least 28 such firearms and obtained approximately $27,600 as a result of the offenses. 

The case was unsealed following yesterday’s arrests of Snader and Colon. During the arrests, law enforcement seized additional ghost guns and PMF parts in both Lebanon County and Puerto Rico.  Snader had his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Colon is scheduled to have his initial appearance in the District of Puerto Rico. 

“As in this case, ghost guns are un-serialized and difficult to trace by law enforcement. They look, feel, and function like factory-made firearms, and are just as lethal in the wrong hands,” said U.S. Attorney Gurganus.  “We will do everything in our power to take illegal guns off the streets and prosecute those who are involved in their unlawful manufacture, trafficking and possession.”

“Ghost guns are a danger to public safety all across Pennsylvania and we must close the loophole that allows them to be sold without a background check,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “We are committed across local, state, and federal law enforcement to stop 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.”

“The unlawful sale of firearms is a primary focus of ATF and a critical threat to the safety of our citizens,” said Matthew Varisco, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Philadelphia Field Division.  “The result of this investigation is a tribute to the longstanding collaboration with our local, state, and federal partners.  I would like to thank the dedicated work of the investigators and prosecutors for dismantling this illegal firearm distribution operation.”

“The United States Postal Inspection Service is committed to investigating individuals who use the U.S. Mail to ship gun parts for the purpose of creating illegal firearms without serial numbers or “ghost guns,” said Inspector in Charge Damon E. Wood.  We are committed to working closely with our law enforcement partners, the US Attorney’s Office, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General to bring those who traffic in illegal firearms to justice.”

Below are photographs of some of the ghost guns seized by law enforcement:

Ghost Guns

 

Ghost Gun Close Up

 

Ghost Rifles

   

The matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott R. Ford is prosecuting the case.   

Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty for each offense is up to 5 years in prison, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Updated January 12, 2022