SEEKONK — A federal judge had a harsh warning for a “ghost gun” distributor after sending to prison Thursday for selling one of the untraceable weapons to an undercover agent in a Route 6 parking lot.
“If there is a next time, be prepared to spend the rest of your life in jail,” U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton told Brian McCarthy, 34, after sentencing him to 2 ½ years in prison.
McCarthy, who has been in prison since his arrest July 31, 2020, did not address the court.
After he is released from prison, the Marshfield native will be on probation for two years and will have to submit to up to 50 drug tests annually and obtain substance abuse and mental health counseling.
The sentence was jointly recommended to the judge.
McCarthy, who was living in Bridgeport, Conn., when he was arrested in the parking lot of the At Home store, has never been in prison before but has been given probation for three drug possession offenses and a drunken driving case.
McCarthy pleaded guilty May 14 to dealing firearms without a license to an undercover agent in June 2020 in Kingston in addition to the sale in Seekonk.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Dawley Jr. said the sentence was reasonable considering the charges and McCarthy’s previous criminal record.
He said a jail sentence was necessary because McCarthy sold guns that are privately assembled and increasingly in demand by criminal organizations because they are untraceable.
McCarthy’s lawyer, public defender Joshua Hanye, told the court McCarthy will move back home to Marshfield and has a supportive family.
He said his client’s criminal past and the current case were driven by drug addiction.
“Mr. McCarthy is going to learn a very hard lesson here,” Hanye said.
In court papers, the defense lawyer said McCarthy developed an opioid addiction after being prescribed painkillers after two surgeries when he was 19.