Lower East Side man cuffed for building ghost guns in his apartment

A Lower East Side man was arrested for allegedly manufacturing ghost guns in his apartment, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Jose Rivera, 47, was charged with six counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree; one count of an attempt to commit the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree; 12 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree; five counts of criminal possession of a firearm; five counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree; two counts of endangering the welfare of a child; and one count of unlawful possession of ammunition.

“The allegations in this case once again make clear how easy it is for anyone to assemble a semi-automatic weapon in their own home,” said District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. “Thanks to the work of our prosecutors and the hardworking detectives at the NYPD, we have prevented these firearms from hitting our streets and causing harm to New Yorkers. We must continue to enforce our strong gun laws in order to stop the flow of weapons into our city, whether they are from the iron or the polymer pipeline.”

“Ghost guns are the fastest-growing public-safety threat in our city and our nation,” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “Today’s charges reflect the promise we made to all the people we serve: that the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will continue seizing all manner of illegal firearms and arresting anyone who makes, possesses, or uses them. Our job is to keep people safe, and we vow to do everything possible to fulfill that mission. I thank and commend all of the members of the NYPD’s Major Case Field Intelligence Team, the New York State Police, the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for their hard work on this important case.”

According to court documents, between October 2016 and May 2022 Rivera allegedly purchased at least 55 ghost gun parts worth over $7,000, many of which were sent to Pennsylvania because they are illegal under the New York SAFE Act. One of the things Rivera allegedly purchased was the “Ghost Gunner 3,” a fully-automated machine that can be used to manufacture ghost guns with the touch of a button. 

On Sept. 22, 2022, the NYPD and New York State Police executed a search warrant at Rivera’s Lower East Side apartment. During the search, authorities allegedly found six fully assembled ghost guns, three of which were loaded with high-capacity magazines, as well as 200 rounds of ammunition and five major components. Rivera allegedly made two of the guns into assault weapons, and some of the firearms appeared to have been manufactured using the Ghost Gunner-3 machine from raw blocks of aluminum.

Two of the firearms were allegedly easily accessible to the two and three-year-old children that were also living in the apartment and were not locked or safely stored. Rivera had a prior felony conviction and was not allowed to possess any legal firearms.

New York State Police First Deputy Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli said, “Once again, strong law enforcement partnerships have disrupted another illegal gun manufacturing operation. The indictment of Jose Rivera will not only keep dangerous weapons off our streets but will also disrupt the cycle of criminal activities that they produce. We will continue to make it a priority to find and dismantle these illicit endeavors to make New York state a safer place.”