EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Pawtucket man is awaiting a formal arraignment after a Rhode Island State Police task force seized ghost guns, other weapons and drugs from his home this week.
Members of the RISP High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force originally launched a narcotics investigation into Ferdinando Lombardi, but learned he may also be in possession of privately made firearms.
At his Windmill Street home on Tuesday, police found 20 ghost guns and materials to make them, along with large-capacity feeding devices.
According to 12 News Law Enforcement Analyst Steven O’Donnell, the seizure is a substantial step in getting these untraceable firearms off the streets.
“But the bad part of that is that means it’s just exposing a bigger problem that he may be one of many that do the same thing,” O’Donnell said.
WATCH: O’Donnell says ghost guns could become an “epidemic” (Story continues below.)
O’Donnell, a former R.I. State Police superintendent, told 12 News the sole purpose of having ghost guns is to conduct criminal operations. Kits to build them are available to buy online.
“Because if you’re going to buy a gun, you just go to the store and buy it, you have to do a background check,” O’Donnell explained. “Ghost guns – there’s no background check, you assemble them, put them together.”
“This person’s intent was to sell them to … people on the street,” he added.
In 2020, legislation was signed into law that made ghost guns illegal to make, purchase, possess, transfer, or sell in Rhode Island. O’Donnell thinks there could be stronger laws on the books.
“And these companies, if they’re sanctioned, they’re going to stop doing it. They won’t manufacture it if they’re going to get either civilly charged or criminally charged,” he said.
In addition to ghost guns and other weapons, state police said Lombardi was also in possession of:
- 30 grams of fentanyl
- 12 grams of cocaine
- Drug sale paraphernalia
- More than $7,000 in cash
The 56-year-old was set to be arraigned in Providence District Court on Thursday, but the hearing was postponed when court staff said Lombardi had a medical issue and was unable to appear.
Online court records show his arraignment has been tentatively rescheduled for Friday.
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