Grand jury indicts Salem man in Oregon’s largest known ‘ghost gun’ operation

By OPB staff (OPB)
March 18, 2022 2:52 p.m.

A Salem man was indicted by a Portland grand jury Thursday in what police are calling Oregon’s largest known “ghost gun” operation. They say 29-year-old Tyler Ray Harnden also distributed fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl.

The U.S. Department of Justice says ghost guns are “homemade firearms without serial numbers assembled from kits or materials sold without background checks, making them easily acquired by criminals who otherwise would not be permitted to possess a firearm and nearly impossible for law enforcement to track.”


Harnden cannot legally possess a firearm since he is a convicted felon, according to U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the District of Oregon.


Salem police and federal agents discovered a large ghost gun manufacturing operation at Harnden’s Salem home last month, which contained dozens of homemade firearm components and guns in various stages of completion. During the search, investigators also found and seized two pistols, three assembled ghost guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, 15 loaded high-capacity magazines, three drill presses and other assorted firearm manufacturing equipment.

A table in a conference room is covered with guns and gun parts seized by law enforcement.

A table is covered with evidence seized in two raids that investigated the alleged manufacturing of ghost guns by a Salem man. Tyler Ray Harnden is accused of executing the largest known private ghost gun operation in Oregon history.

Department of Justice

About 200 of counterfeit pills were also seized at the property.

This week, federal agents and Salem detectives obtained and executed a federal search warrant on house of a relative of Harnden. There they seized four gun safes and 63 additional firearms that belonged to Harnden.

Police say Harnden was convincing people with substance abuse issues to buy guns for him, and in exchange, he would give them pills he manufactured.

Harnden is in state custody and will be arraigned on a federal indictment for drug trafficking and weapons charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.