Skip to main content
Press Release

Monmouth County Man Charged With Illegally Possessing Machine Guns

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man today made his initial appearance in federal court on charges that he possessed 36 machine guns, which are illegal under federal law, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

John Lafergola, 52, of Millstone Township, New Jersey, was charged by complaint with knowingly possessing machine guns, defined as a weapon that can shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. Lafergola appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lois H. Goodman and was detained without bail.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In the early morning of Oct. 5, 2014, law enforcement officers responded to a call from Lafergola’s residence, where they learned he allegedly pointed a handgun at another member of his household. It was learned that possessed 72 firearms – including 36 machine guns – and dozens of firearms components, ammunition, accessories, and manufacturing tools.

Of those 36 machine guns, 13 were found to be operational as automatic weapons, each of which was found to have been assembled out of separate components, including a machine gun receiver of unknown origin, including:

  • A 9 mm Luger caliber, FBP M948-type firearm, 31 ½ inches long, bearing no serial number nor manufacturer’s marks of identification;
  • A 9 mm Luger caliber, Suomi M31-type firearm, 34 inches long, and bearing no manufacturer’s marks of identification;
  • A 7.62x25 mm caliber, M56-type firearm, 34 ½ long, bearing no serial number nor manufacturer’s marks of identification.

Lafergola also was found to be in possession of three short-barreled rifles, including one that had an obliterated serial number; two silencers; and items determined by local law enforcement to be non-smoke gunpowder, fuses, other materials that could be used to make explosive devices, and explosive devices.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the ATF, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George P. Belsky, and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, for its role in the case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa T. Wiygul of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Defense counsel: Evan Nappen Esq., Eatontown, New Jersey

Updated June 17, 2016

Press Release Number: 16-005