For Immediate Release
D.C. Felon Pleads Guilty in Federal Court in Maryland to Illegal Possession of a “Ghost Gun” Firearm and Ammunition
The “Ghost Gun” was Assembled from Firearm Parts Kits
Greenbelt, Maryland – Martrel Rayshard Reeves, age 30, of Washington, D.C., pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Timothy Jones of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; and Interim Chief Hector Velez of the Prince George’s County Police Department.
“Law enforcement must be able to keep guns out of the hands of convicted criminals,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “So-called ‘ghost guns’ circumvent the laws designed to prevent felons from possessing firearms because they have no serial numbers and do not require background checks.”
According to his plea agreement, on July 8, 2018, law enforcement executed a traffic stop on Reeves’ vehicle, a black Dodge Charger, for traffic violations. The car was occupied by Reeves and a female passenger. Reeves did not have a driver’s license or other identification and a check of his driving record revealed that his license had been suspended. Officers asked Reeves to step out of the car. Law enforcement smelled alcohol on Reeves’ breath and the odor of marijuana on his person. The vehicle was searched and law enforcement recovered a .40-caliber pistol, loaded with 10 rounds of ammunition, from a black bag in the car. Reeves admitted at the scene that the firearm belonged to him, following which, he was arrested.
As detailed in Reeves’ plea agreement, the pistol was test-fired and found to function as a firearm. The gun recovered in Reeves’ car is what is known as a “ghost gun”—in that it was made from a firearm parts kit. These kits can be purchased from various kit manufacturers or secondary retailers, including internet websites. Crucially, convicted felons, who are prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition as a result of their convictions, can order such firearm kits and assemble an untraceable working gun in the privacy of their homes in as little as one hour with minimal effort.
Reeves faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison for illegal possession of a firearm by a previously convicted felon. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for January 5, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is 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.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the ATF and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rajeev R. Raghavan and Erin B. Pulice, who are prosecuting the case.