The NJ Attorney General has charged 12 men with trafficking illegal “ghost guns” into the state as part of an elaborate network using cocaine sales as a funding source. NJ AG Gurbir S. Grewal alleges the suspects imported the weapons into Bensalem to avoid New Jersey law enforcement.
These arrests come just months after Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation last November making the purchase, possession, sale, or manufacture of any untraceable firearm illegal. Described as guns with the serial number scratched off, these weapons make enforcing gun laws more difficult for law enforcement.
“Operation Stone Wall” recovered 13 weapons, including six AR-15 rifles with no serial numbers. In addition, detectives found parts for two more rifles of the same model.The investigation began months before Governor Murphy signed the legislation. Prosecutors say the suspects discussed needing to go across the border to get parts with the new law in place.
In a confirmation of this detail, the NJ Attorney General’s Office released transcripts of a conversation between two suspects they say happened three days before selling two of the illegal firearms.
“We just gotta [sic] go out of state now. You know what I’m saying?” defendant Paul Corum allegedly said to Nicholas Cilien. “And then we gotta go across the border to go get it… but it’s not a problem… Put it together, and then, you know what I’m saying, give you a call and let you know.”
In all, police arrested four men for several charges related to the purchase and manufacturing of ghost guns. They also arrested eight additional men for allegedly selling cocaine.
“This case starkly illustrates why ghost guns are so dangerous, because drug dealers and other criminals can easily acquire them and traffic them into our communities, where they will be virtually untraceable if used in a crime,” said AG Grewal. “Suffice it to say no one conducted any background checks here. Shutting down this network and preventing the further distribution of ghost guns to criminals protects public safety and law enforcement safety.”
The following men are charged with the purchase of parts to manufacture untraceable weapons, or “ghost guns,” and related charges:
- Christopher Stoner, 41, of Lindenwold,
- Nicholas Cilien, 38, of Mt. Ephraim,
- Paul Corum, 43, of Lindenwold,
- Marc Freeman, 53, of Lindenwold.
The following men are charged with cocaine distribution, possession, and related charges:
- Lamont White, 43, of Lindenwold,
- Bryheem Belcher, 33, of Magnolia,
- Michael Smith, 48, of Woodbury Heights,
- Fabian Sapp, 45, of Sicklerville,
- Devon Davis, 31, of Chesilhurst,
- Monroe Gadson, 28, of Camden,
- Tyriek Bradford, 20, of Lindenwold,
- John Rayford, 41, of Lindenwold.