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Proud Boys member jailed for seven years for unlawfully possessing ‘ghost guns’

·2 min read

A member of the far-right group the Proud Boys has been jailed for seven years for unlawfully possessing ghost guns and ammunition.

Jonathan Cuney, a 38-year-old US Marine veteran from New York, was sentenced on Thursday to 87 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, on firearms charges.

Cuney pleaded guilty back in June to unlawfully possessing, as a felon, a rifle and an AR-15-style rifle receiver/frame, and to possessing three unregistered silencers, between September and November 2019, according to a Justice Department press release.

Under the plea deal, he also admitted that he bought firearms parts online and shipped them to his homes in New York and California and to Rhode Island, where he used to run a legitimate gun store.

He then used these parts to make so-called “ghost guns” - handguns, rifles and silencers without serial numbers, making them difficult for law enforcement to track.

A search of storage units belonging to Cuney in New York and California uncovered a trove of weapons including rifles, handguns, ghost guns and machine-gun conversion kits.

Authorities also found several pieces of clothing, badges and patches bearing FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) acronyms and handcuffs.

The 38-year-old also admitted to unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition in the states of Missouri and Arizona.

Cuney admitted that he joined the Proud Boys, the all-male right-wing group designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, back in 2018.

Prosecutors said that the 38-year-old’s affiliation with the hate group was “of note”, with Cuney getting an initiation tattoo of an eagle with a beer and a rifle in its talons on joining, reported the Times Union.

While the military veteran has since claimed he has left the group, prosecutors cast doubt on these claims.

"There is no indication, beyond [his] self-serving statement, that he actually left the group, ever," said the prosecutor.

Members of the Proud Boys were involved in the January 6 Capitol riot where Donald Trump supporters attempted to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election.

Multiple people with ties to the group have since been charged in connection to the insurrection which resulted in five deaths.

Cuney was previously convicted for unlawful gun trafficking back in 2015, when he pleaded guilty to transporting and selling firearms without serial numbers. He was a licensed firearms dealer at the time.

Cuney was sentenced to 37 months in prison in that case and was released in 2017.

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