Brookline Man Arrested for Unlawful Possession of Machinegun

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

BOSTON – A Brookline man has been arrested for illegally possessing a machinegun. 

Stewart Silvestri, 24, was charged by criminal complaint with one count of unlawful possession of a machinegun and was detained on Nov. 18, 2022 following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein.

“The alleged conduct here is incredibly serious. Mr. Silvestri allegedly possessed eight unserialized and untraceable ghost guns. These dangerous weapons are nearly impossible to trace and directly contribute to the ongoing plague of gun violence we see across the nation and in our Commonwealth. Moreover, two of the firearms Mr. Silvestri allegedly possessed were machineguns capable of causing extreme harm, destruction and even mass casualties in the blink of an eye,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Firearms, including ghost guns, are deadly weapons and those who illegally possess them are a potential threat to the safety of our neighborhoods. We will identify and prosecute these individuals and seek pre-trial detention whenever possible if it will result in keeping those that pose this type of danger off our streets.”

“The illegal possession of fully automatic “ghost guns” is a federal crime that ATF takes very seriously as it threatens the safety of our communities.” said James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Boston Field Division. “ATF will continue to work tirelessly with our local state and federal partners to investigate and arrest those who illegally possess firearms.”

According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 15, 2022, law enforcement responded to multiple calls for an erratic driver on Route 95 in Rowley, Mass., who had pulled into a weigh station. Upon arriving at the weigh station, law enforcement approached the driver – Silvestri – who stated he had just come from an armory in New Hampshire. When asking for his license and registration, law enforcement observed Silvestri allegedly sitting on what appeared to be firearms. According to the charging document, a subsequent search of the vehicle recovered eight privately made firearms (also known as ghost guns), hundreds of rounds of ammunition and numerous firearm parts. Two of the firearms were fully automatic pistols, classified as machineguns. 

The charging statute provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

U.S. Attorney Rollins; ATF SAC Ferguson; Colonel Christopher Mason, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip C. Cheng of Rollins’ Organized Crime & Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.