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Hasbrouck Heights Man Gets Six-Year Prison Sentence for Trafficking in “Ghost Guns”

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Hasbrouck Heights NJ, Acting Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced that a Bergen County man has been sentenced to prison following his conviction on gun charges stemming from a gun trafficking investigation led by the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) and Paterson Police Department.

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Michael Maresca, 34, of Hasbrouck Heights, was sentenced to six years in state prison, with a 42-month period of parole ineligibility, by Superior Court Judge Christopher R. Kazlau in Bergen County on August 12, 2022. In a hearing before Judge Kazlau on July 5, 2022, Maresca pleaded guilty to second-degree possession of an assault firearm and third-degree purchasing of firearms parts to manufacture untraceable firearms. Those charges stemmed from his arrest in November 2020 as a result of the DCJ/Paterson PD investigation. During that hearing, Maresca also pleaded guilty to third-degree purchasing of firearms parts to manufacture untraceable firearms, a charge stemming from an unrelated arrest by Ramsey Police in July 2020.

“Removing ghost guns and other illegal firearms from our streets and prosecuting those responsible for bringing them into our state is essential to our gun violence reduction strategy,” said Acting Attorney General Platkin. “New Jersey’s strict gun laws are in place to help keep our communities safe and we will continue to vigorously enforce these laws to protect residents and save lives.”

“We are aggressively targeting those responsible for the proliferation of guns and gun violence in our communities and the prison sentence announced today reflects those efforts,” said Director Pearl Minato of the Division of Criminal Justice. “This defendant has found out the hard way that anyone caught buying, selling, or possessing dangerous, illegal weapons faces serious consequences.”

Maresca was arrested in November 2020 for allegedly trafficking ghost guns in the area of Paterson, New Jersey.

During the investigation, in October and November 2020, five ghost guns and two assault rifles were seized. Maresca allegedly sold two ghost guns to an undercover officer, including one that was equipped with an illegal 15-round magazine loaded with prohibited hollow-point bullets.

In April 2021 a state grand jury in Trenton indicted Maresca and two other men—Robert Moser, 49, of Depauw, Indiana, and Maken Cornell, 52, of Grove City, Ohio—for allegedly conspiring to purchase handgun kits, ghost gun parts, and outlawed large-capacity magazines and have them shipped to New Jersey, where Maresca allegedly assembled the illegal guns and sold them. The same grand jury handed up a second indictment charging Maresca with weapons offenses related to his July 2020 arrest in Ramsey. Moser pleaded guilty on May 16, 2022 to third-degree purchasing firearm parts to manufacture an untraceable firearm, as an accomplice to Maresca, and is awaiting sentencing. Charges against Cornell are pending.

Deputy Attorney General Angel Hector prosecuted both cases for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Cynthia Vazquez and Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis. Detectives in the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime North Unit, investigated the case against Maresca, Moser, and Cornell. Detectives in the Ramsey Police Department investigated the case involving Maresca alone.

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