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Date: 09-01-2023

Case Style:

United States of America v. Giovanni Donofrio

Case Number: 3:22-cr-00213

Judge: Janet Bond Arterton

Court: United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (New Haven County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in New Haven

Defendant's Attorney: Allison Near and William Dow

Description: New Haven, Connecticut criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with illegally manufacturing and selling firearms without a license.

On December 8, 2021, New Haven Police stopped a vehicle that was known to have been involved in a shots-fired incident. Inside the vehicle officers found three firearms, two of which were privately-made Polymer80 semi-automatic pistols (“ghost guns”) with Glock slides. A trace of the serial numbers on the Glock slides revealed that Giovanni Donofrio, age 22, of East Haven, Connecticut, had purchased them in November 2021. A subsequent court-authorized search of Donofrio’s residence revealed gun-making equipment, including a power drill and bits, multiple Polymer80 jigs, empty packaging for 50 round 9mm drums, multiple slides, an AR15 Carbine Buffer Kit, and other items. In addition, a search of Donofrio’s phone revealed numerous text messages indicating that Donofrio was manufacturing and selling firearms.

The investigation also revealed that between November 25 and December 5, 2021, the two ghost guns manufactured by Donofrio that were recovered during the car stop had been used in six shooting incidents where at least four houses were struck by gunfire. Witnesses to some of the shooting incidents reported a vehicle chase with occupants shooting at each other.

Donofrio was arrested on October 31, 2022. On June 12, 2023, he pleaded guilty to engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license, and admitted that he built and sold at least five firearms.

Donofrio, who is released on bond, is required to report to prison on October 3.

This investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the New Haven and East Haven Police Departments.

IMPORTING/MANUFACTURING FIREARMS (Engaging in the Business of Manufacturing and Dealing in Firearms without a License)
in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(a)(1), which provides:

(a) It shall be unlawful—
(1) for any person—
(A) except a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, to engage in the business of importing, manufacturing, or dealing in firearms, or in the course of such business to ship, transport, or receive any firearm in interstate or foreign commerce; or * * *

Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to six months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release.

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