HESPERIA, Calif. (VVNG.com) – Puleaga Pele, 44, of Hesperia, was arrested for allegedly selling ghost guns, a fast-growing problem recognized by LAPD last year as a ‘crisis’ after seeing a 400% increase in these types of guns hitting the streets.
Ghost guns are firearms that are privately assembled and untraceable with parts that can be made with a 3D printer. They can be assembled from kits being marketed through popular social media apps, with some popular content creators selling “water guns,” targeted towards young teenagers. These can later be modified, and when placed in the hands of criminals, they become very dangerous.
At Pele’s home, dozens of illegal firearms lacking serial numbers were allegedly found – leading to his arrest on a federal criminal complaint alleging he acted as an unlicensed firearms dealer.
He was arrested at his residence Friday morning as law enforcement executed a search warrant there, and is now being charged with one count of unlicensed dealing in firearms, according to the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s office.
Pele is expected to make his initial court appearance on Monday at United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, in July 2022, law enforcement searched a San Fernando Valley residence as part of a separate investigation. While reviewing the digital device of a target of the investigation, law enforcement allegedly discovered communications in which an individual – later identified as Pele – offered to sell the target of an investigation multiple firearms, which appeared to be of unknown manufacturer and without a serial number,” the District Attorney’s officed stated in their release.
Law enforcement said they later traced the firearms to Pele’s residence, which was searched this morning pursuant to a warrant, the affidavit states.
“Inside Pele’s house and in a Hummer truck in the garage, law enforcement allegedly found a total of 33 firearms, of which 10 were privately manufactured firearms (a.k.a. “ghost guns”), a stolen firearm, a machinegun, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and assorted high- capacity magazines and firearm parts,” the report stated.
Pele does not have a federal firearms license for buying or selling firearms, according to the affidavit. If convicted of this charge, Pele would face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
Homeland Security Investigations and the Los Angeles Police Department are investigating this matter.
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