Evansville man sentenced to 6 ½ years for ‘ghost gun’ possession, drug charges

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An Evansville man will spend 6½ years in federal prison on multiple charges, including possession of a new type of weapon that’s raising hairs on law enforcement’s neck: 3D printed “ghost guns.”

Cody Pfettscher, 25, was sentenced Tuesday for illegal possession of four unregistered, 3D printed smooth-bore pistols, possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of a controlled substance, carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.

An additional charge of possession of a firearm by a felon was dismissed pursuant to Pfettscher’s plea agreement, according to a May 10 announcement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In March 2019, Evansville Police Department officers responded to a reported shooting at Pfettscher’s residence. Upon arrival, the officers discovered Pfettscher’s girlfriend had sustained a gunshot wound to her abdomen while Pfettscher held their infant son.

According to the DOJ, Pfettscher shot and wounded his girlfriend, nearly striking their infant son. During a subsequent interview at the hospital, the woman stated Pfettscher was intoxicated and “playing” with the recently purchased pistol.

Officers searched the residence and discovered a pistol, four 3D printed firearms, one 3D printer, two laptops, marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. The 3D printed firearms were determined to be “smooth-bore pistols,” a category of firearms that must be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

However, Pfettscher had not registered the firearms, which did not have any serial numbers. The “ghost guns” — unserialized, privately made firearms created using a 3D printer — were thus untraceable by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Tracing Center.

“Illegal ghost guns pose a growing threat to our communities — especially in the hands of drug dealers and other criminals,” Zachary A. Myers, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, said in a news release. “… These individuals poison our communities for their own greed with no regard for the people they hurt and kill. The significant sentence imposed in this case demonstrates that emerging technologies will not deter federal, state, and local law enforcement from pursuing dangerous criminals and holding them accountable.”

Pfettscher was also convicted in April 2019 of a felony offense in Warrick County that prohibited him from lawfully possessing firearms or ammunition.

He was later involved in March 2021 vehicle stop as a passenger, which revealed a bag of methamphetamine and a 9mm bullet in his pocket. A further search of the vehicle uncovered the rest of Pfettscher’s belongings, including a 9mm pistol, 15.9 grams of meth, bags used to package drugs, a sales ledger and $445 in cash.

Pfettscher pleaded guilty in two cases and received a combined sentence imposed by Judge Richard L. Young of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Indiana. The U.S. Probation Office must supervise Pfettscher for three years following his release from prison.

The Evansville Police Department and Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office investigated the cases against Pfettscher. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristian R. Mukoski, named ghost gun coordinator for the Indiana Southern District’s U.S. Attorney’s Office, prosecuted the case.

A National Ghost Gun Initiative was launched by the DOJ in February 2022 in response to the proliferation of ghost guns across the country.

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