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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 2, 2021

Proud Boys Member Sentenced to 87 Months on Firearms Charges

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Jonathan M. Cuney, age 38, and a part-time resident of East Greenbush, New York, was sentenced today to 87 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, for unlawfully possessing firearms including “ghost guns,” and ammunition.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman and John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF).

Cuney previously pled guilty to unlawfully possessing, as a felon, a Springfield Armory rifle and an FMK Firearms Inc. AR-15-style rifle receiver/frame, and to possessing three unregistered silencers, between September 9, 2019 and November 14, 2019. 

Cuney has a prior conviction for unlawful gun trafficking.  In December 2015, he pled guilty, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, to transporting and selling firearms with obliterated serial numbers while he was a licensed firearms dealer.  He was sentenced to 37 months in prison, and returned to East Greenbush in April 2017 upon his release from prison.

In pleading guilty on June 22, 2021, Cuney also admitted that from at least August 2018 until November 12, 2019, he purchased firearms parts from several dozen online retailers, and had these items shipped to East Greenbush; Willits, California (where he maintained a residence); and Providence, Rhode Island (where he formerly maintained a legitimate firearms business).  Cuney then used these firearms parts to manufacture non-serialized handguns and rifles, and silencers.  These firearms are often called “ghost guns” because they do not have serial numbers, making them more difficult for law enforcement to track.

ATF searched Cuney’s East Greenbush storage unit on November 14, 2019, and found it to contain, among other items:

  • Two (2) rifles,
  • One (1) revolver,
  • Four (4) serialized AR-15-style rifle receivers/frames,
  • Two (2) completed “ghost” guns,
  • Five (5) pistol parts kits,
  • Two (2) completed silencers and enough parts to build more than ten (10) silencers, and
  • An assorted quantity of firearm parts and accessories – of which five (5) would be classified as machine guns under federal law – and 3,250 rounds of assorted rifle and pistol ammunition.


Cuney also rented a storage unit in Redway, Humboldt County, California.  ATF searched this storage unit on November 20, 2019, and found it to contain, among other items:

  • Two (2) Glock pistols,
  • Seven (7) additional handguns,
  • Three (3) rifles,
  • One (1) shotgun,
  • Five (5) machinegun conversion kits,
  • More than ten (10) silencers, and
  • More than 1,000 rounds of assorted rifle and handgun ammunition. 


Cuney also admitted to unlawfully possessing, on September 17, 2019, in Columbia, Missouri, several thousand rounds of ammunition that he purchased at a firearms store through a straw purchaser.

He also admitted to unlawfully possessing, on November 12, 2019, near Tucson, Arizona, a pistol and a rifle, which were discovered during a traffic stop of a vehicle that Cuney was driving.

Cuney has also admitted to joining the Proud Boys organization in late 2018. 

In sentencing Cuney, Senior United States District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. noted that “ghost guns are killing people on the streets every day in this country.” 

Judge Scullin noted Cuney’s prior service in the United States Marine Corps, including a combat deployment to Iraq, but said that “any credit you might get for being a veteran is outweighed by your conduct as a criminal.  You know how to play the system. You tell a good story – an ‘A’ for creating writing, but an ‘F’ for conduct.” 

As part of his plea agreement, Cuney agreed to abandon a variety of firearms, silencers, ammunition, and firearm parts found in both East Greenbush and Redway, California, as well as the following items, all found in Redway: one pair of handcuffs with key; 56 Monadnock disposable single cuffs; and clothing items, patches and badges bearing law enforcement acronyms and insignia, including a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) ball cap, FBI badges, FBI patches, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) patches, and DEA badges.

These cases were investigated by the ATF New York Field Division, with assistance from ATF Special Agents and Task Force Officers in Arizona, California, Missouri, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.  The California Highway Patrol also assisted in the investigation. 

The New York case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Barnett.

The Arizona case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Serra M. Tsethlikai of the District of Arizona.

The Missouri case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael S. Oliver of the Western District of Missouri.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Updated December 2, 2021