Salem man charged in state’s largest “ghost gun” manufacturing workshop, feds say – Salem Reporter

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The U.S. Attorney's Office said Thursday that Tyler Ray Harnden paid people with substance abuse disorders in oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl to illegally buy firearms for him.

Firearms seized by federal authorities (Courtesy/U.S. Attorney's Office District of Oregon)

A federal grand jury indicted a Salem man Thursday on charges alleging he sold fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl and illegally manufactured guns out of his home, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office District of Oregon.

Federal authorities say Tyler Ray Harnden ran the state's largest known privately made firearm - or "ghost gun" - manufacturing workshop from the basement of his south Salem home.

The grand jury for the U.S. District Court of Oregon in Portland charged Harnden, 29, with possessing with intent to distribute fentanyl and heroin, distributing fentanyl, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, the press release said. 

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents arrested Harnden around 1: 40 p.m. Feb. 16 less than a mile from his home, where he lived with his mother, according to an affidavit filed by special agent Graham Bogumill.

Federal authorities then searched his basement bedroom and found in a safe a Glock, model 42, .380 caliber pistol and a Canik, model TP9 SF, 9mm caliber pistol, the affidavit said.

In the basement, agents also found what they described as evidence indicating Harnden was manufacturing and selling firearms, according to the filing:

-Three completed privately made rifles, known as “ghost guns”

-Thousands of rounds of various ammunition

-13 lower receivers for rifles in different stages of completion

- Two pistol frames

-Around 15 high-capacity magazines, some already loaded, for different calibers of ammunition

-Three drill presses and "an assortment of firearm manufacturing equipment"

- Around 200 counterfeit blue M30 oxycontin pills, "believed to be manufactured with fentanyl," and a small amount of suspected heroin.

Ghost guns are homemade firearms without serial numbers made from kits or materials sold without background checks. It's currently legal in the U.S. for people not otherwise barred from owning firearms to manufacture their own guns at home, but not to sell them.

Federal authorities have sought tighter regulations on the manufacture of guns at home, saying they make guns easily accessible by people who otherwise wouldn't be legally allowed to possess them and "nearly impossible for law enforcement to track," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in its statement.

Firearm manufacturing equipment seized by federal authorities (Courtesy/U.S. Attorney's Office District of Oregon)

The Glock and Canik weren't manufactured in Oregon, the affidavit said, meaning they traveled in interstate or foreign commerce before arriving in the state.

Bogumill said in the affidavit he found multiple boxes of different ammunition brands in the basement, including boxes stamped "made in Russia" from the brand Red Army Standard.

Harnden pleaded guilty in April 2015 to delivery of heroin in Marion County Circuit Court and was sentenced to two years in state prison, court records show.

It is illegal under federal law for someone who has been convicted in any court of a crime publishable by more than a year in prison to possess any firearm or ammunition that has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, according to the affidavit.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in its statement that agents found evidence after Harden's arrest that he had been paying people to "conduct illegal straw purchases" of guns for him, and that he would use people with substance abuse disorders to buy guns for him in exchange for counterfeit oxycodone pills made with fentanyl.

According to the statement, he was also storing firearms at a relative's house and had tried to convince the relative to sell some of them to earn money for his jail spending account. Federal authorities and detectives with the Salem Police Department searched the relatives house on March 15 and seized four gun safes and 63 other firearms that belonged to Harden.

He was in custody at the Marion County Jail on a federal hold as of Thursday afternoon, the jail's roster showed.

Harnden will be arraigned at an unspecified date. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in federal prison, according to the statement.

Contact reporter Ardeshir Tabrizian: [email protected] or 503-929-3053.

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