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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Connecticut
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 11, 2024

New Britain Man Pleads Guilty to Firearm Offense Stemming from Ghost Gun Investigation

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BRIAN McMANUS, 55, of New Britain, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today in Hartford federal court to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to court documents and statements made in court, as part of an investigation into the proliferation of privately made firearms (“PMFs” or “ghost guns”) in Connecticut, ATF investigators determined that Andrew Francoeur, a resident of Manchester, was buying firearm parts from a Missouri company, having the parts shipped to him, and manufacturing guns inside a shipping container on a property in Suffield.  Francoeur sold some of the firearms he manufactured.

While he was incarcerated in state custody for firearm and drug offenses, Francoeur arranged for McManus to take possession of his guns and ammunition.  McManus sold some of the firearms, broke some into pieces when he learned of the ATF investigation, and ultimately stored Francoeur’s property in two storage bins.  In November 2022, investigators retrieved the storage bins and found firearm parts, a .22 caliber rifle, more than 1,800 rounds of ammunition, 25 high-capacity magazines, M-80 explosives, firearm gear, and other items.

McManus’ criminal history includes felony convictions for drug, firearm, larceny, and failure to appear offenses.  It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

McManus is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill in Bridgeport on July 8, at which time he faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years.

On April 27, 2023, Francoeur pleaded guilty in federal court to unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, and manufacturing and dealing in firearms without a license.  On September 6, 2023, he was sentenced to 33 months of imprisonment.

This matter was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Reed Durham.

This case is part of 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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