For Immediate Release
Germantown Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for the Illegal Possession and Distribution of Firearms and Drugs
Sold Drugs and Seven Guns, Including Five Privately Manufactured Firearms, Also Known as “Ghost Guns” to an Undercover Law Enforcement Officer
Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang today sentenced Dwight Luis Clarke, age 32, of Germantown, Maryland, to 10 years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and four counts of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances. Clarke admitted that he sold crack cocaine and seven firearms, including five privately manufactured firearms, known as “ghost guns” to an undercover law enforcement officer.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Toni M. Crosby of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Baltimore Field Division; Chief Marcus Jones of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Chief Victor Brito of the Rockville City Police Department.
According to his plea agreement, during late 2021 and early 2022, Clarke was identified as a suspected trafficker of narcotics and firearms. In February 2022, an ATF Special Agent, acting in an undercover capacity (the UC) contacted Clarke, who agreed to sell the UC crack cocaine and firearms. During three meetings that month, Clarke sold the UC: two privately made firearms (PMFs) that Clarke referred to as “ghost guns,” specifically, Polymer80 Inc. 9mm semi-automatic pistols, bearing no apparent serial numbers; a.22-caliber semi-automatic AR-style pistol; a 33 round 9mm extended magazine, which contained one 9mm cartridge; a .22-caliber extended AR-style magazine loaded with three .22-caliber cartridges, a .22LR caliber mini mag ammunition box containing 95 cartridges; a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol; and 44.48 grams of crack cocaine.
During one of the meetings, Clarke told the UC that he was unable to purchase a gun at a gun store for the same reason that the UC stated that the UC could not go to a gun store, that is, due to a prior felony conviction.
As detailed in the guilty plea, at the end of February, Clarke and the UC communicated again regarding the purchase of additional narcotics and firearms. On February 28, 2022, Clarke and the UC met at the designated location and Clarke sold the UC three fully assembled ghost guns for a total of $3,000, specifically, three Polymer80 Inc., 9mm semi-automatic pistols, each bearing no apparent serial number.
Search warrants were executed on March 7, 2022, at Clarke’s residence and vehicle. Law enforcement seized firearms and ammunition from Clarke’s residence. Clarke was not present at the time, but was arrested a short time later, after asking to meet with the UC to complete a previously agreed upon sale of firearms and crack cocaine. Law enforcement recovered a Polymer80 Inc. 9mm semi-automatic pistol that Clarke had attempted to throw away before his arrest, and seized approximately 54.78 grams of crack cocaine from Clarke.
Clarke admitted that he knew he had a previous felony conviction and was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. Further, Clarke admitted that he possessed firearms in connection with his drug trafficking business.
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. PSN, an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime, is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. 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.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the ATF, the Montgomery County Police Department, and the Rockville City Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy F. Hagan and Patrick D. Kibbe, who prosecuted the case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/project-safe-neighborhoods-psnexile and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.