Mendocino County Proud Boy sentenced to 7 years in federal prison for ‘ghost guns’

The Press Democrate, California/December 6, 2021

By Emily Wilder

A Mendocino County man affiliated with the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys has been sentenced to over seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of firearms, including “ghost guns,” and ammunition.

Jonathan M. Cuney, who has a residence in Willits, California, received an 87-month prison sentence — to be followed by three years of supervised release — for crimes that occurred between August 2018 and November 2019, the Department of Justice announced in a Dec. 2 news release.

In June, the 38-year-old pleaded guilty to purchasing weapon parts online and assembling them into handguns, rifles and silencers without serial numbers. These “ghost guns” were received and put together at sites in New York, Rhode Island and Willits.

Because they lack formal identification numbers, ghost guns are more difficult for law enforcement to track.

Cuney, who has homes in New York and Willits, according to the DOJ statement and public records, previously admitted to joining the Proud Boys, a far-right, all-male organization linked to many instances of political violence, in 2018. He also served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was deployed to Iraq, the statement added.

Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found 22 serialized and nonserialized firearms, assembly kits, silencers, more than 3,250 rounds of rifle and pistol ammunition and an assortment of other parts and accessories — five of which could be classified as machine guns under federal law — inside storage units in East Greenbush, New York and Redway, California in Humboldt County.

As part of his plea agreement, Cuney agreed to surrender a variety of these munitions alongside other items found in the Redway storage unit, including a pair of handcuffs, more than 50 disposable single cuffs, and patches and badges with FBI branding and other federal law enforcement acronyms and insignia.

Cuney has several prior gun-related federal convictions.

In 2015, he pleaded guilty to trafficking guns with obliterated serial numbers while he was a licensed firearms dealer. He was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison and was released in April 2018.

He also pleaded guilty to illegally possessing guns and gear in Missouri and Arizona between September and November 2019.

Senior U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin, Jr. said during sentencing that “ghost guns are killing people on the streets every day in this country,” according to the DOJ news release.

Scullin told Cuney that “any credit you might get for being a veteran is outweighed by your conduct as a criminal. You know how to play the system. You tell a good story — an ‘A’ for creating writing, but an ‘F’ for conduct.”

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