‘Ghost Gun’ network busted

U.S. Department of Justice

Four members of a gun manufacturing and trafficking network in Passaic and Hudson counties have been charged with weapons offenses related to the fabrication and sale of personally made firearms (PMFs), commonly known as “ghost guns,” or unserialized and untraceable weapons.

Savion Clyburn, 20, and Corey Jenkins Jr., 30, both of Paterson, New Jersey; Richard Mullane, 26, of Bayonne, New Jersey; and Julian Santiago, 26, of Jersey City, New Jersey, are charged by complaint with conspiracy to engage in unlicensed firearms dealing and manufacturing and engaging in unlicensed firearms dealing and manufacturing, including by manufacturing and subsequently selling PMFs.

Santiago is also charged with transferring a firearm to a felon. The defendants are scheduled to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Edward S. Kiel in Newark federal court.

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

Beginning in December 2022, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with state and local law enforcement agencies, began investigating a firearms trafficking network, operating largely in Paterson and Bayonne, that included Clyburn, Jenkins, Mullane, and Santiago. During December 2022 and January 2023, law enforcement conducted at least nine controlled purchases which resulted in the recovery of 12 firearms, including 11 PMFs and one serialized Kel-Tec SUB-2000 Rifle, as set forth below:

DateDefendant(s)Firearm(s) Purchased
Week of Dec. 18, 2022ClyburnJenkinsTwo PMFs
Dec. 28, 2022SantiagoOne PMF
Jan. 3, 2023SantiagoJenkinsOne PMF
Jan. 5, 2023ClyburnJenkinsOne PMF
Jan. 7, 2023SantiagoJenkinsMullaneOne PMF
Jan. 9, 2023ClyburnJenkinsMullaneTwo PMFs
Jan. 17, 2023ClyburnJenkinsTwo PMFs
Jan. 17, 2023ClyburnOne Kel-Tec SUB-2000 Rifle, bearing Serial No. EGN69
Jan. 25, 2023JenkinsMullaneOne PMF

Law enforcement officials have recovered PMFs that were customized with different colors and designs, and two of which were threaded for silencers.

All four defendants face a maximum prison sentence of five years and a maximum fine of up to $250,000 on each of Counts One and Two. Defendant Santiago faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on Count Three. 

Ghost guns are a growing weapon of choice among people who are legally prohibited from buying guns.

Ghost guns are constructed by individuals using unfinished frames or receivers, the piece of the firearm that contains the operating parts of the firing mechanism, and which are the part of the gun regulated under federal law. However, when a frame or receiver is “unfinished” by a small fraction, it is unregulated.

Ghost gun kits include all of the necessary component parts to turn the unfinished frame or receiver into a fully functioning gun, which once assembled looks, feels, and functions like a traditional gun, whether a handgun or assault weapon, and is just as deadly and dangerous in the wrong hands.

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