AG Shapiro: Two Arrested In Philadelphia Gun Trafficking Investigation

February 26, 2021 | Topic: Criminal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE—Friday, February 26, 2021

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced the arrest of two men for their role in a Philadelphia gun and drug trafficking syndicate. The arrests are the result of an investigation by the 44th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury. 

The Attorney General’s Organized Crime Section apprehended John To, 36, and Andy Nguyen, 23, for charges related to their drug and gun trafficking operation in Philadelphia County. Over the course of the investigation, agents discovered that To and Nguyen were selling counterfeit Oxycodone pills — made of heroin and fentanyl — as well as ghost guns and stolen firearms. To is a convicted felon and considered a Person Not to Possess firearms.  

Ghost guns typically start as “80% receivers,” which can be quickly assembled, lack serial numbers so they cannot be traced, and, once fully assembled, can operate as fully functioning firearms.

“People have the right to feel safe in their homes and in the neighborhoods where they live and work – and illegal guns and gun traffickers erode that basic right. Once these ghost guns are in our communities, they become untraceable, fully operational firearms causing so much senseless violence,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Thanks to the strong collaboration with our local law enforcement partners, these criminals and guns are out of our neighborhoods and off our streets.”

Yesterday, agents executed a search warrant on To’s home, who now resides in Montgomery County, and found approximately $60,000 in cash, one pound of a methamphetamine-like substance, and paraphernalia related to the sale and distribution of drugs. The syndicate’s original operations took place in Philadelphia County. 

During the investigation the Grand Jury learned that, between November 2018 and August 2020, John To sold 983 pills, approximately one pound of marijuana, and one 9mm Taurus firearm that was reported stolen out of North Carolina. During one of the meetings, To had Nguyen deliver and accept money for the pills. The pills, which were labeled as legitimate 30 mg Oxycodone pills, were found to contain a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. In December 2020, To also sold a fully assembled 9mm Polymer 80 handgun, also known as a ghost gun. He also provided samples of a substance, suspected to be crystal methamphetamine, and offered to sell it. 

John To will be charged with multiple counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver, Violations of the Uniform Firearms Act, and related offenses. Andy Nguyen will be charged with one count of Possession with Intent to Deliver and one count of Possession with Intent to Deliver. 

This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Erik Olsen and Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Roderick Fancher. All charges are accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. 

The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General was assisted by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, the Lower Moreland Township Police Department, the Philadelphia Police Department and the United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

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