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‘Ghost gun factory’ mechanic pleads guilty, gets five years

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Nov. 16 announced the guilty plea of Cliffie Thompson, 36, for “running a sophisticated ghost gun factory” in his Lillian Wald Houses home by the F.D.R. Drive in Alphabet City and possessing firearms, ammo, 3D printers and ghost gun parts.

Thompson pled guilty in New York State Supreme Court to six counts of criminal possession of a weapon, one count of criminal sale of a firearm and one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, among other charges, on Nov. 15. Under the terms of the plea, Thompson will be sentenced five years in state prison followed by three years of post-release supervision. He is expected to be sentenced on Jan. 8.

“Today Cliffie Thompson was held accountable for contributing to the proliferation of ghost guns in Manhattan and New York City as a whole by operating an illegal ghost gun factory in his apartment,” Bragg said. “The easy assembly of ghost guns means bad actors are able to evade New York’s strict gun laws in their own homes. As we work with our law enforcement partners to remain vigilant on enforcement, we renew our call to the New York Legislature to make the manufacturing of 3D-printed guns and gun parts illegal. It’s time to close these loopholes and strengthen penalties.”

Ghost gun parts and manufacturing equipment confiscated from Cliffie Thompson’s Wald Houses apartment. (Manhattan D.A.)

According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, on Jan. 15, 2023, Thompson was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend. As admitted in his guilty plea, both before and after he was arrested, he contacted and directed a woman at his apartment to remove equipment from his home.

On Jan. 16, a court-authorized search warrant was executed at Thompson’s apartment, where officers recovered five firearms and various types of ammunition. According to the criminal complaint, gun parts were found scattered around the apartment, from the kitchen to a bedroom dresser drawer.

The D.A. said Thompson had “a highly sophisticated setup” to manufacture ghost gun parts from scratch, including two 3D printers with plastic filament in them, roughly 11 large spools of plastic filament used in 3D printing, a kiln and 3D-printed gun parts in various stages of completion. Also recovered were tools for manufacturing guns, including drills, drill bits and wrenches, springs and screws.

Thompson also possessed around 36 blank, forged credit cards containing other individuals’ personal ID information.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the NYPD and other state and federal law enforcement partners, established the Ghost Guns Initiative in 2020 to address the proliferation of ghost guns in New York City. Ghost guns lack identification numbers and so are untraceable.

To date, the Ghost Guns Initiative has prosecuted cases involving the seizure of more than 104 ghost gun parts, 90 firearms, 442 high-capacity magazines, 47 silencers and other gear, including scopes and rapid-fire modification devices.

Among others, D.A. Bragg thanked local Housing Bureau Police Officers Jeralmys Rodriguez and Vincent Ayres and Sergeant Daniel Tirado of Police Service Area 4.

One Comment

  1. Jay Crockett Jay Crockett December 19, 2023

    Five years??? Is that all? Consider how many people were killed or injured by these guns. I am appalled.

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