Bristol County felon facing up to 5 years in prison for manufacturing and dealing ghost guns



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BOSTON – A Bristol County man pleaded guilty this week in federal court in Boston to dealing firearms without license, including “ghost guns.”

According to the Massachusetts Department of Justice, 33-year-old William Viera, of Taunton, pleaded guilty to dealing in firearms without a license. U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin scheduled sentencing for March 9, 2023. Viera was arrested and charged on April 18, 2022.

“Ghost guns are even more dangerous than firearms assembled by a licensed manufacturer. Although each are deadly and can kill someone, the PMF rarely has a serial number and is virtually untraceable. Often, people use them in an attempt to hide their criminal activity because the origin and use of the firearm is unknown,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins.

“Prohibited persons who not only have direct access to firearms, but illegally manufacture firearms for other prohibited individuals is a significant threat to our community,” said James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division. “ATF is committed to identifying these individuals and bringing them to justice.”

Beginning in or around April 2022, Viera was identified as an illegal firearms dealer and ghost gun manufacturer. “Ghost guns,” or privately made firearms (PMFs), are firearms assembled or otherwise produced by a person other than a licensed manufacturer, often without a serial number. In April 2022, through the use of a cooperating witness, Viera was contacted about available firearms. During his communications, Viera stated he could manufacture PMFs, including a Glock-style PMF and an AR platform rifle or pistol receiver. Viera also made completed firearms from unfinished firearms kits and sold the completed firearms to other individuals. The cooperating witness subsequently met with Viera at his residence on multiple occasions, where Viera was observed in possession of a Glock-style PMF. Between July 15, 2022, and Aug. 8, 2022, Viera sold three Glock style PMFs and ammunition to the cooperating witness during three separate controlled purchases. Additionally, a search of Viera’s residence on Aug. 18, 2022, resulted in the recovery of one commercially manufactured AR platform firearm and two finished PMFs, as well as ammunition and parts and tools used for firearm making, among other things.

Viera does not possess a federal firearms license and is prohibited from possessing any firearms or ammunition due to prior felony convictions, including a 2012 conviction in Bristol County of armed robbery for which he was sentenced to two to five years in prison.

The charge of dealing in firearms without a license provides for a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

U.S. Attorney Rollins and ATF SAC Ferguson made the announcement. Assistance was provided by the Taunton Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Dell’Anno of Rollins’ Major Crimes Unit is prosecuting the case.

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