Inland Empire Man Arrested on Complaint Alleging He Engaged in Unlicensed Firearms Dealing in Which He Sold ‘Ghost Guns’

Inland Empire Man Arrested on Complaint Alleging He Engaged in Unlicensed Firearms Dealing in Which He Sold ‘Ghost Guns’

          LOS ANGELES – A San Bernardino County man – at whose home dozens of illegal firearms lacking serial numbers, commonly known as “ghost guns,” allegedly were found – was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint alleging he acted as an unlicensed firearms dealer.

          Puleaga Pele, 44, of Hesperia, was arrested at his residence this morning as law enforcement executed a search warrant there. He is charged with one count of unlicensed dealing in firearms.

          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.

          Law enforcement 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.

          Pele does not have a federal firearms license for buying or selling firearms, according to the affidavit.

          A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

          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.

          Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey M. Chemerinsky, Kevin B. Reidy, and Bruce K. Riordan of the Violent and Organized Crime Section are prosecuting this case.

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