CAMDEN, NJ— Four Lindenwold men were arrested and charged in the state under a new law that makes it a crime to purchase, manufacture, possess or distribute untraceable guns, according to authorities.

The arrests were part of Operation Stone Wall, a year-long investigation by the attorney general’s division of criminal justice that spanned across Camden County and across state lines to Bensalem, Pennsylvania and resulted in a total of 12 arrests, State Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced Monday in Camden.

“This case is particularly alarming because it shows the that the threat of ghost guns to public safety, and to law enforcement safety, is not abstract. It’s real,” Grewal said Monday at the Camden County Police Department headquarters. “It highlights the black market that exists among criminals for these untraceable guns.”

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Ghost guns are not registered, do not have serial numbers and are purchased over the internet without any type of background check of the purchaser. They are shipped 80 percent complete, with the remaining parts assembled using parts sold by the manufacturer and online instructions. The guns are difficult to trace and make it harder for law enforcement to solve gun crimes.

In June of last year, Grewal sent letters to ghost gun manufacturers demanding they stop selling and shipping products to New Jersey, and in November Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that banned them in the state.

“The reason we sought that law and the reason the governor and the legislature stepped up to pass and enact it is because ghost guns are a real and dangerous menace,” Grewal said. “They offer criminals, convicted felons, terrorists, domestic abusers — people who we all agree shouldn’t own firearms — the ability to access … a very deadly level of firepower that cannot be traced.”

Operation Stonewall began as an investigation into the cocaine distribution of Lamont White, his son, Tyriek Bradford, and their associate, John Rayford, all of Lindenwold, but “expanded dramatically” said Jill Mayer, division of criminal justice deputy director. Detectives learned that another one of the trio's associates, Christopher Stoner, was allegedly involved in selling illegal guns, including ghost guns.

Stoner and Nicholas Cilien, whom Stoner would allegedly obtain cocaine from, allegedly conspired with two other men — Paul Corum and Marc Freeman, both of Lindenwold — to sell ghost guns, specifically six unregistered AR-15 assault rifles, which Freeman allegedly assembled using kits he and Corum purchased on the internet.  

The assault rifles allegedly were sold for prices ranging from $1,100 to $1,300 per gun, twice the amount of a legally purchased gun, Grewal said.

Stoner, Cilien, Corum and Freeman all face charges ranging from possession to intent to distribute and the sale of an unlawful covert weapon, in addition to other weapons and drug charges. Corum was ordered detained until trial at a detention hearing on Friday, March 15.  Stoner, Cilien, and Freeman are being held in jail pending detention hearings.  

Arrests were made and several search warrants were executed on March 8.

Six ghost gun AR-15 assault rifles, as well tools and parts for two more AR-15 ghost guns, were recovered in the investigation. A total of 13 guns were recovered, as well as 525 grams of cocaine, with a street value of $18,500 to $37,000; three bundles [30 doses of heroin]; 120 oxycodone and Xanax pills; 3.5 pounds of marijuana; small amounts of crack cocaine; drug packaging materials; and over $20,000 in cash.

Others arrested included Bryheem Belcher, Michael Smith, Fabian Sapp, Devon Davis, and Monroe Gadson.

The investigation involved over 10 federal, state and local agencies, including NJSP TEAMS Unit South, NJSP Canine Unit South, FBI, Voorhees Township Police Department, Mt. Ephraim Police Department, Deptford Police Department, Gloucester Township Police Department, Lindenwold Police Department, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, and Camden County Sheriff’s Office.

Grewal said the state is continuing to aggressively investigate other ghost guns that may have been sold by the alleged parties, as well as any manufacturers who continue to ship the guns into New Jersey. Grewal said Monday the ghost gun manufacturer who shipped the guns and gun parts recovered as part of Operation Stone Wall would not ship them to New Jersey due to the new law.

The defendants are charged as follows:

  • Christopher Stoner, 41, of Lindenwold: Conspiracy (2nd degree - Firearms); Unlawful Possession of an Assault Rifle (2nd degree);  Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Assault Rifle (3rd degree); Unlawful Possession of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Possession of Firearm While Committing Drug Offense (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (1st degree); Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).
  • Nicholas Cilien, 38, of Mt. Ephraim: Conspiracy (2nd degree - Firearms); Unlawful Possession of an Assault Rifle (2nd degree); Possession of Firearm as Convicted Felon (2 counts, 2nd degree); Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Assault Rifle (3rd degree); Unlawful Possession of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (1st degree); Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree); Possession of Oxycodone with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree); Possession of Xanax with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree).
  • Paul Corum, 43, of Lindenwold: Conspiracy (2nd degree - Firearms); Unlawful Possession of an Assault Rifle (2nd degree); Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Assault Rifle (3rd degree); Unlawful Possession of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Purchase of Firearm Parts to Manufacture Untraceable Firearm (3rd degree).
  • Lamont White, 43, of Lindenwold: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).
  • Bryheem Belcher, 33, of Magnolia: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).
  • Michael Smith, 48, of Woodbury Heights: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).
  • Fabian Sapp, 45, of Sicklerville: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).
  • Devon Davis, 31, of Chesilhurst: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).
  • Monroe Gadson, 28, of Camden: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (2nd degree); Possession of Firearm as Convicted Felon (2 counts, 2nd degree); Possession of Firearm While Committing Drug Offense (2nd degree); Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree); Possession of Marijuana (4th degree).
  • Tyriek Bradford, 20, of Lindenwold: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (3rd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree); Distribution of Heroin (3rd degree); Possession of Heroin (3rd degree).
  • John Rayford, 41, of Lindenwold: Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine (2nd degree); Distribution of Cocaine (3rd degree); Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).
  • Marc Freeman, 53, of Lindenwold: Conspiracy (2nd degree - Firearms); Unlawful Possession of an Assault Rifle (2nd degree); Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Assault Rifle (3rd degree); Unlawful Possession of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Unlawful Manufacture, Transport, Shipment, Sale, Disposition of Covert or Undetectable Firearm (3rd degree); Purchase of Firearm Parts to Manufacture Untraceable Firearm (3rd degree); Possession of a Weapon by Person Who Has Committed Domestic Violence Offense (3rd degree).

First-degree charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000.  Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.  The charge of possession of a weapon as a convicted felon carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years without parole.  Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.  The third-degree drug charges carry enhanced fines of up to $35,000 for the possession charges or $75,000 for the distribution charges.

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