‘Ghost gun factory’ operator in Manhattan indicted on 69 firearms charges: DA Bragg

An alleged ghost gun maker accused of turning his East Village apartment into a small firearms factory was slapped with a 69-count indictment on weapons possession and other charges, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced Friday.

Cliffie Thompson, 35, was indicted following his Jan. 16 arrest, after police conducted a raid of his East Village apartment and discovered 3-D printers and other paraphernalia used to manufacture ghost guns. His arrest came one day after police nabbed him for assaulting his girlfriend, which sources say prompted the raid.

Thompson has been indicted on five counts of the criminal sale of a firearm, five counts of the criminal possession of a weapon, and a slew of other weapons-related charges. He is also facing fraud charges since he allegedly had 36 forged credit cards in his Manhattan apartment.

The indictment was handed down at a time when authorities have been stepping up their efforts to get ghost guns off the street. The guns are problematic since they lack serial numbers and are untraceable. They are typically put together with parts, and often 3-D printers are used.

“This indictment makes clear that ghost guns continue to proliferate in our city due to their accessibility and low cost,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “This alleged ghost gun factory posed a serious threat to public safety, and I thank our prosecutors and law enforcement partners for their excellent work in preventing any harm coming from these weapons.” 

According to court documents, police raided his East Village apartment, a day after he was arrested for assault.

Cops discovered a “highly sophisticated setup,” Bragg said, that was used to manufacture gun parts from scratch. The search uncovered two 3-D printers with plastic filament in them, approximately 11 large spools of plastic filament used in 3-D printing, and 3-D printed gun parts in various stages of completion. There were also tools for manufacturing guns.

This is not the first time that Thompson has been hit with gun charges. He was convicted on a gun possession charge in 2016, according to reports, and is being investigated as to his involvement in two unsolved shootings.

“Stopping the proliferation of illegal guns in New York City neighborhoods is at the forefront of our public-safety mission,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell in a statement. “In particular, the manufacture and circulation of ghost guns present a grave threat to our community – and the NYPD will continue to investigate, arrest, and hold accountable anyone who traffics in these deadly weapons.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office, in partnership with the NYPD and other law enforcement partners, launched the Ghost Guns Initiative in 2020 to address the proliferation of ghost guns in New York.

To date, the initiative has led to the prosecution of cases leading to the seizure of 85 ghost gun parts, 42 fully assembled ghost guns, 421 high-capacity magazines, 45 silencers and various modification devices.