Two men have pleaded guilty to operating an illegal business that built and sold “ghost guns” to Bellflower.
The defendants – Travis Schlotterbeck, 37, of Fountain Valley, and James Bradley Vlha, 29, of Norco – pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to engage in the manufacture and trade of firearms without a license a week before their scheduled date to go to trial.
The plot, which ran from 2015 to 2017, was based at two Schlotterbeck-controlled Bellflower businesses called Sign Imaging and Live Fire Coatings. Neither the defendants nor their related businesses had federal firearms licenses to engage in the manufacture or sale of firearms.
Defendants admitted to taking six custom orders for AR-15 type firearms which they then manufactured and sold to undercover agents and a confidential Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives informant in 2015 and 2016 , according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. .
The pair had assembled and finished the guns for sale – charging $1,500 to $2,000 for each gun – without any serial numbers or maker’s marks, earning the guns the nickname “ghost guns.” “.
Both men were charged in a federal grand jury indictment filed in 2019.
Schlotterbeck also pleaded guilty to one count of selling a firearm to a convicted felon. The confidential ATF informant had previously been convicted of a criminal offense, which Schlotterbeck was aware of at the time of the sale, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Both defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for the conspiracy count. Schlotterbeck faces an additional 10 years in prison for selling a gun to a convicted felon.
Sentencing hearings for both defendants are scheduled for November 17.