Ghost gun dealers across New York City keep getting busted.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and NYPD officials say they remain committed to preventing “ghost” guns from haunting the city’s streets in the latest sting announcement Thursday.
“Ghost” guns are firearms that can be sold in pieces and then assembled to create deadly weapons that are naturally difficult to track due to the absence of serial numbers. Part of what’s been dubbed as the Polymer Pipeline due to the plastic of which they ghost guns are made, several dealers have flooded the city with these weapons in 2020.
The phantom firearms have been connected to gang shootouts such as one in Midtown Manhattan on Nov. 16, where three people were shot outside of a recording studio.
However, the NYPD and DA Katz have busted ghost gun dealers again in what marks the fifth such takedown since August of this year — “and we will not stop,” Katz vowed Thursday.
“Using traditional investigative techniques, accurate intelligence gathering and analysis, we are continuing a relentless pursuit of those who think they can get away with bringing gun parts into our borough,” Katz said at a press conference inside her office on Dec. 9.
Twenty-year-old Chaz McMillan of 162nd Street in Fresh Meadows was an alleged dealer of these weapons, stockpiling numerous handguns, assault weapons and shotguns. Charged Wednesday evening with multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm, and many other charges, McMillan faces up to 25 years behind bars if convicted.
Investigators retrieved a total of 25 “ghost” guns from this suspect alone, including semi-automatic pistols and the aforementioned assault weapons, in addition to 31 large capacity magazines, 670 rounds of ammunition, and several parts used to construct the weapons.
“The individuals building, trafficking, and using these illegal self-made firearms no longer need to travel the iron pipeline from down South to acquire firearms and then to distribute them in our community. Now with the stroke of a keyboard the polymer pipeline allows traffickers to build these weapons from the comfort of their own home,” Katz said.
Katz stressed that while the ghost guns have been an issue her office has combated for a few years, it has steadily been on the rise. Individuals like McMillan have easily used technology to create the deadly, lightweight weapons from their own homes.
“I want to be clear: This was in an apartment building. This was an apartment building with people living right next store just like you can build them in the basement of a home. You have no idea that they are being built and that’s what makes them all the more dangerous and difficult to find,” Katz said.
Katz reiterated that the handful of successful “ghost” gun takedowns made since August are due to the steadfast efforts of the NYPD and Queens DA’s office.
“We will continue a relentless pursuit of those who think that they can get away with bringing these tools of death to our communities. We will find you. We will dismantle the ring and we will prosecute you and we will dismantle the polymer pipeline,” Katz warned.