PHILADELPHIA (January 17, 2023) — District Attorney Larry Krasner and members of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Gun Violence Task Force announced charges against Luis Soto (DOB 10/7/1993) for trafficking ‘ghost guns’ that were manufactured at his residence on the 1900 block of E. Tioga Street in the city’s Harrowgate section. A search warrant was executed for Soto’s residence after the defendant was observed illegally transferring three unregistered and untraceable polymer handguns in exchange for cash. Investigators subsequently recovered from inside his residence another completed polymer handgun, a plethora of firearm parts, various firearm assembly tools, boxes containing 9mm rounds, .22 caliber rounds, and .50 caliber rounds, as well as one partially-assembled polymer AR-style rifle (see photos below).Soto was arrested by Philadelphia police and formally charged by the DAO late last week with 11 counts of 6105-Possession of Firearm Prohibited (F1), three counts of 6106-Firearms Not to Be Carried Without a License (F3), three counts of 6108-Carry Firearms Public in Phila. (M1), and numerous other illegal firearm-related charges. Soto has prior convictions for felony Burglary and other offenses. The DAO’s GVTF requested Soto be held on very high bail due to the clear danger this defendant posed to the safety and security of the community. Bail was set by a magistrate judge at $875,000 and the defendant remains in custody.
After authorities apprehended Soto, he provided a Mirandized statement confessing to ordering the parts needed to assemble the weapons using another person’s name and receiving those parts through the U.S. Postal Service and UPS. It is not yet clear how many firearms he sold to people on the street.“This case underscores the absurdity of a system in which a repeated felon is able to purchase firearm parts with absolutely no screening or scrutiny, and it only becomes a crime when these parts are assembled into untraceable, unregistered deadly weapons,” said DA Krasner. “This madness must end, and our legislators in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C., many of whom are in the thrall of the National Rifle Association (NRA), need to be held accountable for the bloodshed that they are causing on our streets. The time for commonsense gun safety legislation is long overdue. I’m grateful to our GVTF investigators and Philadelphia police who helped apprehend Mr. Soto and shut down this outrageous gun trafficking operation.”
“I want to thank our partners in the PA Attorney General’s Office who assisted us in shutting down Mr. Soto’s operation, which essentially was an illegal gun manufacturing plant in the heart of Kensington,” said Assistant District Attorney William Fritze, Supervisor of the GVTF. “The GVTF and DAO will continue to hold drivers of gun violence accountable, as well as those who supply them with the firearms that cause death and injury in communities across our city.”“I applaud the Philadelphia Police Department, the PA Attorney General, and the DAO’s Gun Violence Task Force members for their work investigating and apprehending this defendant,” said Councilmember Quetcy Lozada (District 7). “This is exactly what we need to see in the 7th District and throughout the city. I hope he is held responsible to the fullest extent of the law if convicted.” This case will be prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Sheida Ghadiri of the GVTF. No trial date has been set for Soto.
CONTACT:[email protected]Dustin Slaughter, 215-686-8713,
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is the largest prosecutor’s office in Pennsylvania, and one of the largest in the nation. It serves the more than 1.5 million residents of the City and County of Philadelphia, employing 600 lawyers, detectives, and support staff. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for the prosecution of approximately 40,000 criminal cases annually. Learn more about the DAO by visiting PhillyDA.org.