East Hartford Resident Sentenced to Prison for Making Ghost Guns

News -- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, November 17, 2022
US Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that AUDLEY REEVES, 30, of East Hartford, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford to 18 months of imprisonment for fabricating “ghost guns.”

According to court documents and statements made in court, in late 2021, the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force learned that John Lee Ortiz and others were selling “ghost guns,” which are homemade firearms that do not contain serial numbers or other identifying markings that prevent them from being traced to the owner, seller or manufacturer of the firearm.  In December 2021, investigators made controlled purchases of seven handguns, a Bushmaster .223 caliber rifle, and numerous rounds of ammunition from Ortiz.  Most of the handguns had no serial numbers and had plastic lower receivers that appeared to be made with a 3D printer.  Reeves was identified during the investigation as the fabricator of the ghost guns.

Reeves and Ortiz were arrested on January 5, 2022.  On that date, a court-authorized search of an apartment on Church Street in East Hartford revealed six fully assembled firearms, approximately 25 partially assembled firearms, three high-capacity magazines, various firearm parts, and tools used to construct firearms.  Reeves was present in the apartment at the time of the search, and a 3D printer in the apartment was in the process of printing a stock of an AR-15 style rifle.

On August 24, 2022, Reeves pleaded guilty to engaging in the business of manufacturing firearms without a license.

Reeves, who is released on a $50,000 bond, is required to report to prison on January 6.

Reeves is a citizen of Jamaica and faces immigration proceedings when he completes his prison term.

On November 8, 2022, Ortiz pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on February 3.

This FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, New Britain Police Department, West Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police and Connecticut Department of Correction.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.
Topic(s): 
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Firearms Offenses
Component(s): 
USAO - Connecticut
Updated November 17, 2022

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