Pennsylvania men charged with trafficking homemade ‘ghost guns,’ silencers

Aug 30, 2023, 11:07 AM

HATFIELD, Pa. (AP) — A man who allegedly trafficked “ghost guns” and silencers he assembled at his Philadelphia-area home has been charged along with two friends, authorities said Wednesday.

Tony Phan Ho, 32, and Ritha “Kay” Ngoy, 36, both of Hatfield, and Michael Phan Nguyen, 32, of Lansdale, were all charged with operating a corrupt organization, conspiracy and weapons counts, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said.

Federal investigators began tracking Ho in May, when they learned a shipment of silencer components had been sent to his home, according to court documents. Montgomery County detectives and federal authorities intercepted the package and interviewed Ho.

According to the documents, Ho initially told investigators a friend had accidentally ordered the silencers, but then later said he had purchased the components himself. Ho added that he sometimes builds the upper components of firearms for friends and family as a way to make money.

He denied assembling fully functional ghost guns, which are firearms that don’t have serial numbers, making them difficult to trace.

Before he met with investigators, Ho allegedly asked Ngoy to take some guns and firearm parts so they would not be found in Ho’s home. Ngoy later turned those items over to authorities.

Nguyen asked Ho to build ghost guns for him, authorities said. Nguyen also tried to purchase firearms on Ho’s behalf since Ho cannot legally buy guns due to a prior conviction. This practice is known as straw-purchasing.

Detectives found evidence that Ho sold 15 homemade firearms. However, Steele said Ho had the capability to make significantly more. A search of Ho’s home and shed revealed equipment required to create ghost guns from kits ordered online, as well as AR-15 rifle parts, polymer pistol kits, ammunition and other gun accessories.

Web search records showed Ho purchased more than 200 “firearms related products and body armor” through eBay over the past three years, the documents said. These purchases included pistol slides, barrels and triggers, as well as AR-15 components, ammunition and silencer components.

Ho’s attorney, Richard Blasetti, declined comment on the charges while Nguyen’s attorney, Paul Mallis, did not return a request for comment. Court records did not show an attorney for Ngoy.

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Pennsylvania men charged with trafficking homemade ‘ghost guns,’ silencers