For Immediate Release
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
, United States Attorney
Maria Chapa Lopez
Contact: William Daniels
Kissimmee Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Manufacturing Over 200 "Ghost Guns" Without a License
Tampa Field Division
Orlando, Florida – U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell yesterday sentenced Hector Luis Santiago-Jorge (48, Kissimmee) to the maximum penalty of five years in federal prison for manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a federal license. The court also ordered that Santiago-Jorge forfeit 10 AR-15 type firearms and 168 rounds of ammunition that were seized from his residence by federal law enforcement officers.
Santiago-Jorge had pleaded guilty on March 5, 2018.
According to court documents, between November 2016 and October 2017, Santiago-Jorge manufactured more than 200 firearms, most of which were AR-15 type weapons. He then sold many of these firearms to purchasers in Puerto Rico. The firearms manufactured by Santiago-Jorge, none of which had a serial number, are commonly known as “ghost guns” because they are difficult for law enforcement to trace.
“This criminal thought he could circumvent the laws in place that make our communities safer from weapons trafficking,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero. “But thanks to the hard work of HSI and our partners, this sentencing should put criminals on notice that we will fully investigate anyone threatening the safety of our citizens.”
“It is ATF’s primary responsibility to aggressively interdict unlicensed manufacturers and the firearms they illegally peddle,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Daryl McCrary. “As subject matter experts, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to keep illegal firearms out of our communities.”
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Chauncey A. Bratt.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorneys’ Offices to develop districtwide crime reduction strategies, incorporating the lessons learned since the program’s inception in 2001. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.