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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, September 1, 2023

East Haven Man Sentenced to Prison for Manufacturing and Selling Guns

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that GIOVANNI DONOFRIO, 22, of East Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to six months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for manufacturing and selling firearms without a license.

According to court documents and statements made in court, on December 8, 2021, New Haven Police stopped a vehicle that was known to have been involved in a shots-fired incident. Inside the vehicle officers found three firearms, two of which were privately-made Polymer80 semi-automatic pistols (“ghost guns”) with Glock slides. A trace of the serial numbers on the Glock slides revealed that Donofrio had purchased them in November 2021. A subsequent court-authorized search of Donofrio’s residence revealed gun-making equipment, including a power drill and bits, multiple Polymer80 jigs, empty packaging for 50 round 9mm drums, multiple slides, an AR15 Carbine Buffer Kit, and other items. In addition, a search of Donofrio’s phone revealed numerous text messages indicating that Donofrio was manufacturing and selling firearms.

The investigation also revealed that between November 25 and December 5, 2021, the two ghost guns manufactured by Donofrio that were recovered during the car stop had been used in six shooting incidents where at least four houses were struck by gunfire. Witnesses to some of the shooting incidents reported a vehicle chase with occupants shooting at each other.

Donofrio was arrested on October 31, 2022. On June 12, 2023, he pleaded guilty to engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and admitted that he built and sold at least five firearms.

Donofrio, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on October 3.

This investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the New Haven and East Haven Police Departments.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brendan J. Keefe and Lauren C. Clark through Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), 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.


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