gun violence

4 Men Accused of Buying ‘Ghost Guns' to Sell in Philadelphia

Four men are accused of buying “ghost guns” from a gun show in Berks County, Pennsylvania, with the intent of illegally selling them in Philadelphia. It’s part of a trend that’s fueling the city’s gun violence epidemic.  

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What to Know

Four men were arrested in two separate cases involving the illegal assembly and sale of “ghost guns,” firearms that are built from scratch and difficult to trace which many officials say have fueled the gun violence epidemic in Philadelphia and beyond.

Police said Najaye Davis, 19, of Philadelphia, purchased multiple 80% receiver-made gun kits with large amounts of cash at the Morgantown Gun Show in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, back on Feb. 27. 

Najaye Davis

Ghost guns normally start as “80% receivers” that are often sold in kits without background checks. They can be easily and quickly assembled, can’t be traced due to a lack of serial numbers and once put together, can operate as fully functioning firearms. 

After buying the weapons, Davis and a second suspect left the venue and drove eastbound towards Philadelphia, according to investigators. Agents with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General (OAG) believe the two men were illegally making and selling ghost guns in Philadelphia. Davis is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a handgun in the city. 

OAG Agents obtained a search warrant for Davis’ Philadelphia home and executed it Friday. During the search, they found three fully functioning unserialized ghost guns, one 80% receiver, $8600 in cash, additional firearm parts, including trigger assemblies, more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition and multiple extended magazines, both loaded and unloaded, officials said. 

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
Evidence seized by the Office of Attorney General.

Investigators also determined Davis was part of a criminal enterprise that made and sold unserialized ghost guns in Philadelphia, making $500 on each sale. 

Davis was arrested Friday and is charged with illegal transfer of a firearm, dealing in unlawful proceeds, corrupt organizations and conspiracy. 

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General
Kenneth Manni

Officials also said Malachi Matthews and Kenneth Manni bought four 80% receiver kits at the same gun show on Feb. 28. They followed their car until the men arrived at a Philadelphia home. 

Malachi Matthews

On Tuesday, the OAG Gun Violence Task Force executed a search warrant at the home and recovered four 80% receiver ready-made gun kits, two fully assembled unserialized ghost guns, a Smith and Wesson revolver, two boxes of ammunition, multiple magazines, approximately 13 packets of suspected fentanyl, two digital scales and a drill suspected of being used in the making and assembly of fully functioning ghost guns, according to investigators. 

Evidence seized by the Office of Attorney General.

Matthews, Manni and a third suspect, identified as Montague Coker, were all at the house at the time of the search, officials said. Coker and Matthews allegedly tried to escape through the roof of the home but were both captured. Officials said the two men are previously convicted felons and considered persons not to possess a firearm. 

Montague Coker

All three men were arrested Tuesday. Matthews and Coker are both charged with Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act while Manni is charged with possession of a controlled substance, suspected to be fentanyl and other violations of the Uniform Firearms Act. 

The Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force, Philadelphia Police Department, Berks County Detectives and ATF were involved in both investigations, which are ongoing. 

“Ghost guns are fueling the gun violence epidemic that takes the lives of Pennsylvanians every single day. Once these DIY homemade gun kits are in the wrong hands, in mere hours they become untraceable, fully operational firearms causing so much senseless violence,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “The Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force and Organized Crime Section, along with our federal and local law enforcement partners, are working overtime to target these gun traffickers and get illegal guns off our streets.”

There are additional resources for people or communities that have endured gun violence. Further information can be found here.

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