A Bayside man who was busted with one of his neighbors in a federal sting operation near LaGuardia Airport in 2019 was sentenced to nearly five years in jail for purchasing an illegally defaced firearm, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office of the Eastern District.
Joseph Miner, 31, was sentenced to 57 months in prison in Brooklyn federal court by U.S. District Judge William F. Kuntz, II, in a case that garnered attention for his alleged racist, sexist and anti-Semitic sentiments that he posted online.
Law enforcement authorities began investigating Miner’s interest in illegally purchasing firearms in late 2019, when he posted on social media his desire to obtain assault weapons and other firearms for a racial civil war or a racial holy war. Minder expressed support on social media for racially and ethnically motivated violence, including celebrating the August 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the December 2019 machete attack at a synagogue in Monsey, New York.
Although Miner at times disavowed interest in conducting an attack himself, on multiple occasions he posted social media messages in which he displayed suicidal ideations and fantasized about “martyring” himself and “go[ing] out in a blaze of glory” in a mass-shooting attack, according to federal prosecutors.
In April 2020, Miner initiated contact with an undercover law enforcement agent posing as a firearms dealer. Minor requested to buy firearms from the undercover agent, knowing that the serial numbers that allow the weapons to be traced were removed from the guns that the undercover agent was offering for sale, prosecutors said.
Following further communications to set up the gun purchase, Miner and his co-defendant Daniel Jou, 40, met the undercover agent at a hotel near LaGuardia on the evening of May 12, 2020. Miner purchased a Glock 9mm handgun with an obliterated serial number. They were arrested as they were leaving the hotel, according to prosecutors.
“Today’s sentence holds Miner accountable for his knowing purchase of a firearm that could not be traced because its serial number had been removed,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said. “I commend the swift action taken by members of law enforcement to address the serious threat that possession of illegal guns poses to the safety of the community.”