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Meriden police arrest city man for making ‘ghost guns’

WFSB Hartford logo WFSB Hartford 6/24/2022 Mike Agogliati, Dennis Valera
Meriden police arrested Jonathan Willette on weapons charges. © Provided by WFSB Hartford Meriden police arrested Jonathan Willette on weapons charges.

MERIDEN, Conn. (WFSB) - Meriden police arrested a man they say was manufacturing ghost guns.

According to police, during June, 2022, members of the Meriden Police Department’s Crime Suppression Unit and members of the Middletown Police Department’s Street Crime Unit initiated a joint investigation into the illegal sale of firearms occurring in both cities.

During the course of this investigation, it was determined that Jonathan Willette, 31, was manufacturing firearms which were not stamped with serial numbers, as required by law, which classifies these illegally manufactured firearms as “ghost guns”.

These firearms were then being illegally sold on the streets of Connecticut.

On June 23, police served a search and seizure warrant at Jonathan’s residence located at 439 South Curtis Street, 1st floor, Meriden, CT.

Police said the search of the residence produced 13 illegal firearms, many of which were not stamped with serial numbers and were also converted to fully automatic weapons. Several drill presses, firearm molds, drilling bits, and a large amount of firearm parts were also located indicating Jonathan was manufacturing illegal firearms.

“Not only removed these weapons from our communities, but also stopped Jonathan Willette from continuing to manufacture ghost guns. We prevented these ghost guns from landing in the wrong hands of individuals with bad intentions,” said Meriden Police Chief Roberto Rosado.

A large amount of fully loaded, high capacity, firearm magazines were located along with several drum magazines capable of holding 40-50 rounds of ammunition.

“So five of these have been modified to be fully functional machine guns. So I think that’s a way that you guys can equate how that looks, the rate of fire that can be done when these weapons are modified is very concerning,” said Lt. Shane Phillips with Meriden police.

Willette was also in possession of two different types of body armor. Also seized was Willette’s vehicle which is believed to be used to transport and sell firearms throughout Connecticut.

Willette is a convicted felon which makes him prohibited from possessing, owning, or selling any type of firearm as well as possessing body armor.

Police said Willette was transported to police headquarters where he was charged accordingly and held on a $3 million bond.

Police are trying to see if any guns he’s made and sold have been used in crimes around the state.

More ‘ghost guns’ are popping up in other investigations.

“I think we’re up to 18 firearms seized within a week. we had three last night we haven’t disclosed yet. parole was out there last night, we assisted them with an investigation that lead to three more firearms. had two other firearms seized last week in Southington, so obviously there’s some great concerns throughout the city,” Rosado said.

Willette was charged with 5 counts of possession of an assault weapon, 8 counts of illegally manufacturing firearms, 13 counts of criminal possession of a firearm, 6 counts of possession of a high capacity magazine, 5 counts of criminal possession of ammunition, possession of body armor by a convicted felon, illegal possession of a silencer, weapons in a motor vehicle, interfering with police, risk of injury to a minor and second-degree reckless endangerment.

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