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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of North Dakota
Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Fargo, ND, Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Possession of Illegal Ghost Guns and Imported Silencers

Fargo – United States Attorney Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl announced that Matthew Kraft, Age 31 of Fargo, ND, appeared before Chief Judge Peter D. Welte, U.S. District Court, Fargo, ND, and was sentenced to 30 months in prison for the Possession of Firearms by a Convicted Felon; Receipt or Possession of Firearms Made in Violation of National Firearms Act; Receipt of Possession of Unregistered Firearms; and Illegal Importation of Firearms. Judge Welte also sentenced Kraft to 3 years of supervised release and a $400 special assessment.

This case came to the attention of law enforcement after the United States Customs and Border Protection intercepted a package from China headed to Fargo, North Dakota, that contained a firearm silencer. On June 28, 2021, federal and state law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the home of Matthew Kraft. During the search, law enforcement found an arsenal of weapons, to include short-barreled rifles, ghost guns, and over 20 firearm silences. Most of the firearm suppressors were illegally imported from China.

"It is extremely dangerous to have unregulated firearms, such as ghost guns, circulating throughout the community," said acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Saint Paul Jamie Holt. "It’s not just the unregistered weapons themselves that present an obvious danger, but the criminal networks who are profiting from the sale of these illegal arms. HSI, and our law enforcement partners will continue our work to remove these unlawful guns from the streets and bring all of those involved in their trade to justice."

"Through his previous convictions, Mr. Kraft has demonstrated his lack of public trust," said ATF Special Agent in Charge William McCrary, of the St. Paul Field Division. "Circumventing the law to obtain firearms, silencers or any other controlled item as a person prohibited from possessing such items cannot and will not be tolerated. We are grateful to our partners for their work in the case and applaud the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its successful prosecution of this investigation."

"This case represents our commitment to reducing gun violence by disrupting illegal firearms trafficking in our region," said United States Attorney Jennifer Puhl.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Customs and Border Protection; ND Bureau of Investigations; Cass County Sheriff’s office; Cass County Drug Task Force; and Fargo Police Department and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s office, with Assistant United States Attorney Richard Lee assigned to the case.

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