TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man today admitted being a felon in possession of a firearm and unlawfully possessing a machinegun, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Davon Harley, 30, of Neptune City, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an indictment charging him with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of unlawful possession of a machinegun.
According to documents filed today and statements made in court:
In February 2020, a Neptune City Police officer confronted Harley, a previously convicted felon, who was arguing with others in the yard of an apartment complex. Harley fled through the apartment complex into neighboring properties and discarded a handgun that, upon inspection, had been altered to fire exclusively in fully automatic mode. The weapon had a magazine capable of holding 31 rounds of ammunition. Law enforcement officers, assisted by the Neptune Township and Asbury Park police departments, located Harley and the machinegun and magazine that Harley had discarded. The magazine contained 22 rounds of ammunition.
The felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a machinegun charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 12, 2021.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, Trenton Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson; officers of the Neptune City Police Department, under the direction of Police Director Matthew Quagliato; officers of the Neptune Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police James M. Hunt, Jr.; officers of the Asbury Park Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police David Kelso; officers of the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Shaun Golden; and detectives of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Matthews of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.