For Immediate Release
Sauk Rapids Man Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Unlicensed Manufacturing, Selling Ghost Guns
ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Sauk Rapids man has been sentenced to the statutory maximum 60 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for unlicensed manufacturing and selling ghost guns, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
“Jay Olson was manufacturing and trafficking untraceable, unmarked firearms and accessories, including a fully automatic machinegun and a silencer. The proliferation of these ghost guns and machinegun conversion devices presents a serious threat to the safety of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger. “To underscore the significance of his crimes, Mr. Olson has been handed the statutory maximum prison term.”
“A case like this demonstrates the immense value of collaborative law enforcement efforts in curbing gun violence in our communities,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Dawanna Witt. “I’m proud of the efforts of our West Metro Drug Taskforce and our Violent Offender Taskforce, who partnered with ATF and Stearns County Sheriff’s Office on this investigation. I would like to thank the U.S Attorney’s Office for our continued partnership as we all work to reduce violent crime in our communities.”
“Firearms trafficking puts dangerous weapons in the hands of violent criminals and will absolutely not be tolerated,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge William McCrary, of the St. Paul Field Division. “We are pleased with the outcome of this case and are grateful to work beside law enforcement partners like Sheriff Witt who make the reduction of gun violence a top priority.”
According to court documents, between the fall of 2021 through April 2022, Jay James Olson, 22, willfully engaged in the business of manufacturing firearms for profit, despite the fact that he is not and has never been a federally licensed manufacturer of firearms. In the spring of 2022, Olson offered to sell numerous unserialized firearms, commonly referred to as “ghost guns,” and various firearms-related accessories, including a silencer, a machinegun conversion device, carbine conversion kits, and multiple high-capacity magazines, to an individual for $20,000. Unbeknownst to Olson, the individual was working with law enforcement as a confidential source. During their conversations, Olson touted the illicit benefits of unserialized firearms and told the confidential source that the price for each firearm would be going up because of the federal government’s then-recent initiative targeting ghost guns.
On April 26, 2022, at a residence in Waite Park, Olson sold the confidential source 16 ghost guns, nine high-capacity magazines, one silencer, a machinegun conversion device, and other firearms accessories. Immediately after the transaction, law enforcement arrested Olson and executed a search warrant at the residence. During the search, investigators recovered various firearm assembly kits, unserialized lower receivers, and multiple miscellaneous firearms parts and accessories. On May 4, 2022, investigators executed a search warrant at Olson’s Sauk Rapids residence, and recovered from the basement manufacturing tools, various firearm assembly kits, and a Glock firearm assembly diagram. The investigation revealed that Olson was trafficking these firearms and offering to sell them to others whom he knew or had reason to know were otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms or intended to use them for unlawful purposes.
Olson plead guilty on September 28, 2022, before U.S. District Judge Eric C. Tostrud to one count of willfully engaging in the business of manufacturing firearms without a license. During Olson’s sentencing hearing yesterday, Judge Eric C. Tostrud said Olson’s actions posed a “grave danger” to the public.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Hennepin County Violent Offender Task Force, and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Bejar prosecuted the case.