San Diego/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on April 21, 2024
San Diego Man Sentenced to Over 7 Years for Trafficking 'Ghost Guns' and MethamphetamineSource: Google Street View

In a significant crackdown on illegal firearms and drug trafficking, San Diego's own Carlos Mendoza has been handed an 87-month sentence after pleading guilty to methamphetamine distribution and dealing in untraceable "ghost guns," the U.S. Attorney's Office announced. The 31-year-old was caught in the act of selling to undercover federal agents last year, an operation that has highlighted the ongoing issue of community safety and gun violence.

Ghost guns, often assembled from various firearm components to avoid the traditional serial numbering system that aids in crime investigation, have been surfacing at alarming rates in San Diego, prompting the Privately Made Firearm Crime Reduction Project—a concerted three-month-long effort between February and May of 2023. Spearheaded by the ATF and the SDPD, data analytics was used by these agencies to target regions with spiking gun violence and focus resources effectively.

Ultimately, this led to the arrest of Mendoza under Case Number 23-cr-01436-RBM, now facing not only a lengthy prison term but the possibility of a life sentence and a $10 million fine for the methamphetamine-related charges as per the statutory maximum set out by Title 21, U.S.C., Section 841(a)(1).

The crackdown brought to justice 33 individuals alongside Mendoza, with 165 ghost guns seized. "Removing dangerous drugs and illegal guns from the street makes all of us safer," U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath stressed the importance of these actions, per the U.S. Attorney's Office. ATF Los Angeles Field Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Bombardier underscored their commitment, stating, "ATF will continue to investigate criminal possession of ghost guns and those who traffick them with its local partners to make our communities safer."