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Four Queens residents have been charged with possession of illegal ghost guns on March 3, the Queens District Attorney announced.
On Thursday, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, Inspector Courtney Nilan, NYPD Chief of Intelligence Thomas Galati and other officials announced their sixth ghost gun take down since August 2021 during a press conference at the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
After several early morning raids this week, Andrew Chang, 34; Kai Zhao, 45; Michael Frankenfeld, 55; and Seongwoo Chung 35 have been cuffed and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm, and slew of other charges after 27 ghost guns and dozens of other firearms, ammunition, and assault weapons were found in their possession.
Ghost guns are particularly dangerous due to the capability to be sold in parts before being assembled into usable firearms, and without serial numbers they are extremely difficult for law enforcement to trace.
The raids were carried out following a long-term investigation between the NYPD’s Major Case Field Intelligence and the Queens District Attorney’s office, in which search warrants were issued on Tuesday morning for residences in Bayside and Auburndale. Upon searching four homes, authorities discovered 33 firearms, 27 that were ghost guns and 22 of these were semi-automatic ghost gun pistols, four ghost gun assault weapons, and one ghost gun shotgun, more than $50,000 in cash, and ghost gun manufacturing equipment.
Also found during the investigation were 78 large capacity magazines, 16 polymer-based lower receivers, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, and firearm accessories such as silencers, holographic sights, bullet proof vests, and a nighttime laser targeting system.
“We must get the guns off our streets. We must stop the illegal production of dangerous firearms that is happening in homes throughout our neighborhoods. Using myriad investigative tools and working closely with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue those
who bring these illegal, deadly weapons into our communities. I want to thank the NYPD’s Major Case Field Intelligence Team and the QDA Detective’s Bureau for their dedication in keeping the residents of Queens safe from gun violence,” District Attorney Katz said.
If convicted, defendants Kai Zhao and Michael Frankenfeld could face up to 25 years in prison while the others could face up to 15 years. All of the defendants do not have licenses to own or possess firearms in New York City.
In addition to large amounts of ammunition and firearms, military style body armor was also recovered. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell called the vast nature of ghost guns a scourge upon New York City and its citizens due to the ease of obtaining the polymer-based firearm components through online orders and then assembled into a deadly weapon. She also applauded the efforts between the NYPD, Major Case Field Intelligence Team and the District Attorney’s office for their relentless work removing ghost guns and those aiming to sell these weapons off the streets.
“This case, and the dozens of guns, component parts, and ammunition seized as part of it, show once again that the proliferation of illegal ghost guns is not a passing fad but a continuing scourge against our citizens, our city, our way of life. These guns, often ordered online and shipped to New York City, shoot real bullets that victimize New Yorkers,” Commissioner Sewell said.
To date, the Queens District Attorney’s office in partnership with the NYPD have removed 107 firearms, 75 ghost guns, 300 high-capacity magazines, four rapid-fire modifications devices, 45,000 rounds of ammunition, and 107 firearm lower receivers.
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