Prince George’s Co. man sentenced to 5 years for building ‘ghost guns,’ distributing drugs

A man from Prince George’s County, Maryland, will serve five years in prison for manufacturing “ghost guns” as well as distributing heroin and cocaine, according to authorities.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia said that Keith Robert Marshall, 34, of District Heights, built the ghost guns in the basement of his home. The firearms get their name for lacking the serial numbers used to track their origin, as well as prevent a buyer from being flagged during a background check.

“These unmarked and often untraceable firearms are frequently assembled from kits that are sold without background checks, making them more attractive to individuals who are prohibited from possessing them,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

As a previously convicted felon, officials said that Marshall fit that profile.

A news release said that Marshall was a regular at a Virginia firearms store where he would purchase AR-15 pistol kits and Polymer 80 kits to make AR-15 pistols and Glock-style pistols.

A search warrant executed at Marshall’s Maryland residence in December 2020 led agents to find a fully functional .40-caliber Polymer 80 Glock-style firearm with a 50-round magazine and an AR-15 rifle, the release said.

It also said that law enforcement officials seized another five high-capacity magazines, various other gun magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition for both rifles and pistols.

During the search, authorities said that Marshall’s basement workspace, as well as his tools and parts, were dedicated to turning the gun kits into fully functional weapons.

In addition to making the ghost guns, court documents cited in the release said that Marshall was a drug dealer who sold heroin and cocaine in the greater Washington, D.C. area, including the Eastern District of Virginia.

Authorities said that Marshall sold heroin at a cost of $2,800 per ounce. As a frame of reference, officials said that a typical user amount of heroin is less than a gram.

The release said that Marshall sold multiple ounces of heroin, as well as some cocaine, to an undercover officer over the course of several months in 2019.

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Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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