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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Central District of California
For Immediate Release
Martin E. Estrada, United States Attorney
Thursday, September 28, 2023

South L.A. Man Guilty of Illegal Gun Sales, Including ‘Ghost Guns’

LOS ANGELES– A federal judge today convicted a South Los Angeles man of participating in a scheme in which he and others illegally sold 22 guns and three silencers.

Jonathan Perez, 34, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to engage in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and one count of possessing an unregistered firearm silencer.

The evidence at trial showed that Perez and his co-conspirators sold 22 guns and three firearm silencers over the course of seven transactions to a confidential informant. In a text to an associate that was introduced as evidence in the trial, Perez said he was “selling straps to the cartel.” Perez personally manufactured many of the 18 “ghost guns” that were sold to the informant during the transactions in 2017.

Today’s conviction follows a three-day bench trial in August before United States District John A. Kronstadt, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for January 25. When he is sentenced, Perez will face a statutory maximum sentence of 25 years in federal prison as a result of his conviction on the three counts.

Two other defendants in this case pleaded guilty in 2018 and 2021 to separate charges stemming from a related narcotics conspiracy.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this matter.

Assistant United States Attorney Declan T. Conroy of the General Crimes Section and Assistant United States Attorney Maria Jhai of the Violent and Organized Crime Section are prosecuting this case.


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