Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. today announced the guilty plea of CLIFFIE THOMPSON, 36, for running a sophisticated ghost gun factory in his East Village apartment and possessing firearms, ammunition, 3-D printers and ghost gun parts. THOMPSON pleaded guilty in New York State Supreme Court to six counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, one count of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, and one count of Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, among other charges, on November 15, 2023. Under the terms of the plea, THOMPSON will be sentenced 5 years in state prison followed by 3 years of post-release supervision. He is expected to be sentenced on January 8, 2024.
“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,” said District Attorney Bragg. “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.”
According to court documents and statements made on the record in court, on January 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 January 16, 2023, a court-authorized search warrant was executed at Thompson’s apartment, where officers recovered five firearms and various types of ammunition. THOMPSON had a highly sophisticated setup to manufacture ghost gun parts from scratch, including two 3-D printers with plastic filament in them, approximately 11 large spools of plastic filament used in 3-D printing, a kiln, and 3-D printed gun parts in various stages of completion. Tools for manufacturing guns, including drills, drill bits and wrenches, small metal parts such as springs and screws, were also recovered. Some of the parts were purchased from an Idaho-based company.
THOMPSON also possessed approximately 36 blank forged credit cards that contained the personal identifying information of others.
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. To date, the Ghost Guns Initiative has prosecuted cases involving the seizure of over 104 ghost gun parts, 90 firearms, 442 high-capacity magazines, 47 silencers, and other gear including scopes and rapid-fire modification devices.
Assistant D.A. Michael Kelley is handling the prosecution of this case, with assistance from Assistant D.A.s Abby Balfour and Stephanie Shaffer, under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Mireille Dee (Deputy Chief of Trial Bureau 70), Sara Sullivan (former Deputy Chief of Trial Bureau 70), and David Hammer (Chief of Trial Bureau 70) and Executive Assistant D.A. Lisa DelPizzo (Trial Division Chief). Investigative Analyst Henry Brody, Digital Evidence Analyst Sophie Haiman, Investigators Ethan Ellsworth and Lou Capolupo, and High Tech Analysis Unit staff Steven Moran (Director of HTAU), Douglas Daus (Supervising Computer Forensic Analyst), Borislav Vestfrid (Senior Forensic Analyst) and ADA Emma Grover of the Special Victims Division (former Legal Intern of Trial Bureau 70) provided valuable assistance in this case.
Assistant D.A. Bonnie Seok of the Rackets Bureau, overseeing the Ghost Guns Initiative, assisted with the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Mike Ohm (Rackets Bureau Deputy Chief), Judy Salwen (Rackets Bureau Principal Deputy Chief), and Jodie Kane (Rackets Bureau Chief), and Executive Assistant D.A.s Christopher Conroy (Senior Advisor to the Investigation Division) and Susan Hoffinger (Investigation Division Chief).
D.A. Bragg thanked the following members of the NYPD’s PSA 4: Police Officers Jeralmys Rodriguez and Vincent Ayres, and Sergeant Daniel Tirado. D.A. Bragg also thanked the following members of the NYPD’s Major Case Field Intelligence Team: Detectives John Uske, John Schultz, Michael Billotto, Victor Cardona, and Christopher Thomas, under the supervision of Sergeant Bogdan Tabor, Captain Christian Jara, and Inspector Courtney Nilan.
New York, NY
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a class C felony, six counts
- Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, a class D felony, one count
- Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second degree, a class D felony, one count
- Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class D felony, one count
- Tampering with Physical Evidence, a class E felony, one count