13 April 2022
Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — As the federal government looks to take action on untraceable “ghost guns,” police in Roanoke Rapids say they’ve made one of the first-ever seizures of this type of homemade weapon in central North Carolina history.
Roanoke Rapids Police Chief Bobby Martin tells WRAL News that an influx of ghost guns could make weapons investigations more difficult, and he’s calling for increased regulations.
A spokesperson for the Roanoke Rapids Police Department said just before midnight on Monday, officers chased a car that fled from a traffic stop on Marshall Street.
RRPD told WRAL News the car ran several red lights before crashing through the fence of a skate park near the TJ Davis Recreation Center, where three of the men inside were arrested: 21-year-old Ahmaad Greene, 20-year-old Tylek Smallwood, and 23-year-old Zion Jackson.
Police said all three of the men were from Northampton County.
Greene was charged with felony evading arrest, possession with intent to sell and deliver schedule II and IV controlled substances, driving with a revoked license, and a brake light violation. He was booked on a $10,000 secured bond.
Smallwood and Jackson were each charged with possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and assigned secured bonds of $1,000.
Police said the drug charges stemmed from 0.6 grams of crack cocaine and more than 19 grams of marijuana they found inside the suspects’ car after the crash.
Investigators told WRAL News they also found something else: an AR-15 pistol.
Officers soon realized they’d never seen anything like it before.
“We seized what we have established is a ghost gun,” Martin said. “What that means is it has no serial number, pretty much untraceable.”
Martin said the weapon was homemade from a kit and isn’t registered anywhere. He said it was the first ghost gun his department has ever recovered, and they’re not alone.
WRAL Data Trackers found just nine previous incidents in North Carolina history where police had collected these untraceable weapons, and only one of them was in our area, coming in Tarboro back in 2016.
“It’s concerning in the fact that if it pops up in the hands of somebody that is not legally able to possess it,” Martin said.
On Monday, the Biden Administration announced that in 2021, police departments nationwide recovered 10 times as many ghost guns as they did in 2016.
In response, the federal government is taking action, announcing a rule that would ban companies from selling ghost gun kits without a serial number on them, and require potential buyers to go through background checks.
Martin said without more regulations, a rise in unmarked ghost guns could leave his department unable to find and arrest suspects they’re looking for.
“And then without anything to trace it or track it from there, that’s where the investigation stalls potentially unless we get a break in the case,” Martin said. “I’m hoping that something in that way will assist us in our investigations.”