Detectives Drug Strike Force Arrest Man, Seize Dozens of Firearms and Partially Built ‘Ghost Guns’

The Bucks County Detectives Drug Strike Force charged a Bensalem man on Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022, with more firearms sales and possession offenses than anyone else in Bucks County in recent history.

Russell Byron Norton, of Bensalem, is being held in lieu of $5 million bail, 10% cash, after being charged with 96 counts related to his role in drug and gun trafficking organization in Lower Bucks County.

Detectives identified Norton as a ghost gun manufacturer and firearm seller for the Pentz Drug and Gun Distribution Organization, building and/or delivering AR-15 rifles, AK-47 rifles, and other different caliber handguns.

This summer, police arrested and charged other members of the gun trafficking organization.

“Once again, and not for the last time, our Drug Strike Force has partnered with many law enforcement agencies to take down an illegal gun runner,” District Attorney Matt Weintraub said. “This great work by law enforcement has undoubtedly saved lives in our community. More to come."

Norton was charged with the following crimes:

  • Corrupt Organizations
  • Prohibited Possession of a Firearm (2 counts)
  • Altering or Obliterating a Mark of Identification
  • Possession of a Firearm with an Altered Manufacturer Number
  • Firearm Ownership – Duty of Other Persons
  • Firearms not to be Carried without a License
  • Criminal Use of a Communication Facility
  • Possession of an Instrument of Crime
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance

The yearlong investigation culminated Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2022, with a pair of coordinated search warrants being served at Norton’s home in Bensalem and his business in Bristol Township.

At his home, detectives recovered 13 firearms, which included a ghost gun handgun, two AR-15 type ghost guns and other handguns, rifles and a shotgun and a large amount of ammunition.

At his business, police located 18 firearms in various stages of manufacturing and one completed firearm, along with tools and items used to manufacture and build additional firearms.

In addition, during a search of Norton’s vehicle, police located a 9mm Glock handgun and 45 bags of suspected fentanyl/heroin. During the initial traffic stop of Norton, police found 12 bags of suspected fentanyl/heroin on him.

Pennsylvania law also prohibits Norton from possessing firearms because of a previous felony conviction and because he had an active criminal warrant out of New Jersey.

The Bucks County Strike Force is a part of the Liberty Mid-Atlantic High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, focusing on areas of drug trafficking and gun violence.

The Drug Strike Force was assisted in this investigation by Homeland Security Investigations-Philadelphia, Bensalem Township Police Department, Bristol Township Police Department, the Bucks County South SWAT Team, and the Philadelphia Bomb Squad.

“HSI Philadelphia is committed to leveraging federal resources to help dismantle firearms trafficking operations and keeping illegal weapons off our streets,” said Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker of HSI Philadelphia. "Investigations like this one are only brought about through close partnerships and information sharing. Holding such illegal firearms manufacturers and traffickers accountable for their actions is a major step toward achieving our goal of safe and secure communities.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Christopher Rees is assigned for prosecution.

Media Contact: Manuel Gamiz Jr., 215.348.6298,

Criminal charges are allegations subject to proof in court. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.