Waretown, NJ man admits to having unlawful rifle and creating fake federal agency I-D cards
A Waretown man has pleaded guilty in court to having an extensive rifle and phony federal agency badges in his possession.
U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced on Wednesday that Jeffrey Backlund, 57, pleaded guilty in Trenton federal court to unlawfully possessing firearms that were not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record and unlawful possession of an official badge or identification card.
His scheming came to an end on September 6, 2020, as police were following up on an investigation stemming from a domestic disturbance and executed a search warrant at Backlund's home.
Upon doing so, law enforcement came across multiple firearms -- including a short-barreled, AR-style, .223 caliber rifle with no serial number or branding -- and imitation federal identification badges including two bi-fold wallets with FBI Special Agent credentials on them and Backlund's picture on both.
Backlund also was found to be in possession of imitation badges falsely representing the U.S. Marshals Service, A.T.F., and the DEA.
The rifle had a tan metal cylindrical device attached to it -- a silencer -- Attorney Sellinger said.
Attorney Sellinger said that Backlund had failed to register the rifle and silencer in the National Firearms Register and Transfer Record pursuant to the National Firearms Act.
For possessing firearms that were not registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, Backlund faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
For the charge of unlawful possession of an official badge or identification card, Backlund faces a maximum prison sentence of six months and a maximum fine of $5,000.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger said the investigation that led to charges and ultimately a guilty plea was due to the collaborative efforts of special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Messenger in Newark; special agents of the ATF Newark Field Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey L. Matthews; special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark; members of the U.S. Marshals Service, under the direction of Marshal Juan Mattos Jr.; detectives with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer, and officers of the Ocean Township Police Department, under the direction of Chief Michal J. Rogalski.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Martha K. Nye of the Criminal Division in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Keith Oliver Esq., Middletown, New Jersey.