CAMDEN, N.J. – Two South Jersey men were arrested for conspiring to manufacture and distribute firearms, including machine guns, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.
David Bibler, 55, of Haddon Heights, New Jersey, and Francis Hillsee, 36, of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, are each charged by complaint with conspiring to manufacture and distribute firearms without a license and possession of a machinegun. Hillsee was also charged with unlawful possession of ammunition by a felon. Bibler appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ann Marie Donio in Camden federal court on May 6, 2021, and was detained. Hillsee is currently in custody on an unrelated matter and will have his initial appearance at a future date.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From December 2020 to February 2021, Bibler was identified as a firearms manufacturer who offered for sale homemade firearms, including fully automatic pistols and rifles, as well as silencers. Hillsee was identified as Bibler’s conspirator, orchestrating sales and pricing. Bibler and Hillsee manufactured and sold 12 firearms, including two fully automatic pistols and one fully automatic rifle, and one silencer. Hillsee also sold boxes of ammunition. When he was arrested, Bibler had in his home eight firearms, including rifles and pistols, as well as firearm manufacturing equipment, explosive powder, and a large amount of ammunition.
Each count of conspiring to engage in the business of manufacturing and distributing firearms without a license carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each count of possession of a machinegun carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The possession of ammunition by a felon charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Camden Field Office of the Newark Field Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge of Craig B. Kailimai; the Drug Enforcement Administration, Camden Resident Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; the Gloucester Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief David J. Harkins; the Haddon Heights Police Department under the direction of Chief Michael Scardino; the Mt. Laurel Police Department under the direction of Chief Steve Riedener; and the Gloucester City Police Department under the direction of Chief Brian Morrell, with the investigation leading to the charges.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alisa Shver of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.