EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — On Wednesday, January 5, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced the indictment of Samuel Snader, 39 of Lebanon, Pennsylvania and Hector Colon, 30, of Puerto Rico.
According to U.S. Attorney John c. Gurganus, both men are being charged with conspiracy to manufacture and sell firearms, and manufacturing and selling firearms without a license.
Gurganus says the indictment alleges both men between August 2021 and January 2022, worked together in Lebanon County to get firearm parts to make and commercially sell ‘Privately Made Firearms’ or ‘PMFs’, usually referred to as ‘Ghost Guns.’
Law enforcement alleged Snader made the ‘PMFs’, which did not possess serial numbers. Colon’s job was to allegedly locate potential firearms customers and take them to Snader who would personally deliver the firearms in exchange for money.
Officials say Snader and Colon allegedly manufactured and sold at least 28 illegal ‘Ghost Guns,’ without the required federal license, and collected around $27,600 as a result of the illegal operation.
According to the press release, during the arrests, police seized additional “Ghost Guns’ and PMF parts from both Lebanon County and 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.”
Attorney General Josh Shapiro says ‘Ghost Guns’ are very dangerous and law enforcement on every level will be focusing on getting these firearms off the streets and to stop their distribution completely.
“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.”
Special Agent Matthew Varisco in charge of the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Philadelphia Field Division says results like this are due to police at all levels working together.
“The unlawful sale of firearms is a primary focus of ATF and a critical threat to the safety of our citizens,” said Special Agent Varisco. “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 U.S. Postal Inspection Service Inspector in Charge, Damon E. Wood is also committed to making sure individuals who use the U.S. Mail to ship illegal gun parts to make PMFs or ‘Ghost Guns’ are stopped and face justice.
“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,” said Wood.
According to the Department of Justice, the maximum penalty for each offense is up to 5 years in prison, followed by a term of supervised release and a fine.