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Press Release

Connecticut Man Sentenced To Prison For Trafficking At Least 32 “Ghost Guns”

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

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MELVIN BURROUGHS was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr., to 58 months in prison for trafficking firearms.  BURROUGHS previously pled guilty to trafficking firearms and conspiring to traffic firearms. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Illegal firearms — and in particular ghost guns — are a scourge to our community.  Melvin Burroughs built and sold a veritable armory of ghost guns, and he now faces prison time for his crimes.”

According to the Superseding Information and statements made in court proceedings and filings:

From approximately 2019 through approximately January 2022, BURROUGHS purchased the parts for “ghost guns,” assembled the parts into completed firearms, and then illegally sold the working and completed firearms. 

On March 14, 2021, BURROUGHS exited his house in Ansonia, Connecticut, with a handgun and — in broad daylight — discharged five rounds at two men who had approached his house.  Still images of that broad daylight shooting are below:

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The Ansonia Police Department searched the defendant’s house the next day.  Law enforcement officers located two completed Glock-style privately made firearms (commonly known as “ghost guns”) and a .50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol that had been reported stolen in Georgia.  Law enforcement officers also recovered a custom-made red and black AR-15-style rifle with the words “SUU WHOOP” inscribed on it.  “Suu whoop” is a gang call of the Bloods street gang, and red is the color of the Bloods street gang.  In addition, law enforcement agents recovered large quantities of ammunition, various gun parts, tools for making ghost guns, and a flamethrower.  Photographs of certain of the materials seized from the defendant’s house are below:

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In connection with the shooting and search of his residence, BURROUGHS was charged in the Superior Court of Connecticut – Ansonia-Milford Judicial District in Milford, Connecticut, with Connecticut state offenses and was released on bail conditions. 

On January 8, 2022 — while on bail for the shooting — BURROUGHS was arrested in Westchester County, New York, with kits to build 17 ghost guns, a completed lower receiver[1] for an AR-15 rifle, 15 extended magazines, and an 18-inch machete.  A photograph of the items seized from BURROUGHS on January 8, 2022, is below:

Photograph of items seized from Burroughs, including ghost gun kits, magazines, and a machete

After BURROUGHS was arrested on January 8, 2022, law enforcement agents searched multiple cellphones belonging to BURROUGHS pursuant to search warrants.  Evidence on those cellphones, including text message communications, videos, and photographs, established that BURROUGHS has been unlawfully selling firearms since approximately 2019.  In particular, BURROUGHS’s gun trafficking business involved purchasing ghost gun parts online or at gun shows, building the ghost guns at his home, and then selling the completed firearms.  One of BURROUGHS’s cellphones contained a photograph of 15 ghost gun kits that BURROUGHS purchased in approximately February 2021. 

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In addition to the prison term, BURROUGHS, 36, of Ansonia, Connecticut, was sentenced to three years of supervised release.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.  Mr. Williams also thanked the New York City Police Department, the Ansonia Police Department, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Connecticut Office of the State’s Attorney for Ansonia-Milford, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut for their assistance in the case.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mead is in charge of the prosecution.

[1] A “lower receiver” or “frame” is the bottom part of a firearm and the basic unit of a firearm, which, in an AR-15 rifle, houses parts related to the trigger, magazine, and hammer.


Nicholas Biase
(212) 637-2600

Updated July 27, 2023

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 23-268