Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that AUDLEY REEVES, 30, of East Hartford, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison by US District Judge Michael P. Shea in Hartford on charges of manufacturing “ghost weapons.” .
According to court documents and court testimony, in late 2021 the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force learned that John Lee Ortiz and others were selling “ghost guns,” which are home-made firearms that do not contain serial numbers or other identifying marks to prevent them from being sold be traced back to the owner, seller or manufacturer of the firearm. In December 2021, investigators controllably purchased seven handguns, a .223 caliber Bushmaster rifle and numerous rounds of ammunition from Ortiz. Most handguns didn’t have serial numbers and had plastic lower receivers that appeared to be 3D-printed. Reeves was identified as the maker of the ghost weapons during the investigation.
Reeves and Ortiz were arrested on January 5, 2022. That day, a court-authorized search of an apartment on Church Street in East Hartford revealed six fully assembled firearms, approximately 25 partially assembled firearms, three high-capacity magazines, and various firearm parts and tools used in firearm construction. Reeves was present at the home at the time of the search, and a 3D printer in the home was printing a stock of an AR-15 rifle.
On August 24, 2022, Reeves pleaded guilty to involvement in the manufacture of firearms without a license.
Reeves, who is being released on $50,000 bail, is due to report to jail on January 6.
Reeves is a Jamaican citizen and will face immigration proceedings after his sentence expires.
On November 8, 2022, Ortiz pleaded guilty to one count of involved in the firearms business without a license and one count of possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. He is due to be sentenced on February 3.
This FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force includes members of the Hartford Police Department, East Hartford Police Department, New Britain Police Department, West Hartford Police Department, Connecticut State Police, and Connecticut Department of Correction. This case is being prosecuted by US Assistant Attorney Brian P. Leaming.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s efforts to reduce violent crime. PSN is an evidence-based program that has been shown to be effective in reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a wide range of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime issues 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 re-entry programs to sustainably reduce crime.