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August 30, 2023

3 Montgomery County men arrested for manufacturing and trafficking ghost guns

Tony Phan Ho, Rithga Ngoy and Michael Phan Nguyen conspired to illegally assemble and sell firearms in the Philly suburb, says District Attorney Kevin Steele

Three Montgomery County men were arrested for their involvement in trafficking ghost guns, according to the office of District Attorney Kevin Steele. 

Tony Phan Ho, Rithga Ngoy and Michael Phan Nguyen are each facing charges related to assembling ghost guns and silencers and selling the firearms illegally. 

An investigation into the illegal gun operation began this May, when silencer compartment parts shipped from China were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at JFK Airport in New York, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said. The shipment was addressed to Ho's home in Hatfield despite it being illegal for him to carry a gun, authorities said.

After Homeland Security, the Montgomery County Detective Bureau and Hatfield police secured a warrant to search Ho's property, they found tools used to assemble guns, AR-15 rifle parts, firearm sights, mounted lights for weapons, a Glock pistol barrel, a Sig Sauer 320P grip frame, a 3D printer and ammunition.

On his phone, Ho, 32, had photos and videos of fully assembled guns and communications about guns with Ngoy, 36, who is also from Hatfield, Nguyen, 32, of Lansdale, and others. The messages helped law enforcement trace Ho to the illegal sales of at least 15 ghost guns since March 2020. 

Over the last three years, records show Ho made purchases on eBay for ammunition, silencer parts and pistol slides, barrels and triggers.

Before meeting with law enforcement, Ho arranged for Ngoy to remove firearms from Ho's home so they would not be found. Ngoy later turned in 15 guns, 14 of which were privately made, and firearm parts to authorities. 

"The items found at Ho's residence, the photos of numerous privately made firearms taken at his residence, and the quantity of firearms parts that Ho bought online clearly show that he was manufacturing a significant number of privately made firearms and silencers on site," Steele said. "The true extent of his firearms manufacturing business—as well as the extent of the criminal activities those firearms were then used in—may never be known, especially since privately made firearms have no serial numbers. These ghost guns are a great danger to the safety of our communities."

Ho and Ngoy were arrested on Aug. 28, and Nguyen turned himself in to police the same day. All three men had to surrender their passports as a bail condition. None posted bail, so they remain in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

All three men have a hearing for 9 a.m. on Sept. 13.