Puleaga Pele was arrested at his home on November 4, 2022, after being federally accused of illegally selling firearms without serial numbers – usually referred to as “ghost guns.” Earlier in the year, law enforcement investigated a separate complaint and discovered communications where Pele offered to sell the subject of that investigation multiple firearms. These firearms had no known manufacturer or serial number, and Pele is not authorized to buy or sell firearms.
Upon searching Pele's home, law enforcement reportedly found 33 firearms, including ten that were privately manufactured. A crime like this, if convicted, could mean a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
‘Ghost Guns' are Still Firearms
“Ghost guns” are privately made firearms that have become more popular with criminals in recent years. Many of these privately made firearms are created with DIY “buy build shoot” kits available online or at a store, making them incredibly accessible to individuals without a background check.
Ghost gun companies exploit past legal loopholes in the definition of “firearm.” But the Biden Administration recently clarified that these DIY kits qualify as “firearms” under the Gun Control Act. Their commercial manufacturers must become licensed and include serial numbers on the kit's frame or receiver. Further, commercial sellers of these kits must also become federally licensed and run background checks before selling them.
Selling Firearms Without a License Can Mean Statutory Sentencing
Ghost guns have been a serious problem in California in the last few years. As such, state and federal prosecutors are extremely intent on adjudicating suspects accused of allegedly selling these items. When you are confronted with a charge for a federal offense, you might feel compelled to make a plea deal, especially if you have a prior arrest record. But it is important to reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate these complex criminal charges.
Attorney Vitaly Sigal of Sigal Law Group is a highly qualified criminal defense attorney with experience helping defendants accused of state and federal crimes. Call 818-325-0570 today for a free consultation.