A Richmond Hill man has been charged with possessing an arsenal of illegal “ghost” guns, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and NYPD Chief of Intelligence Thomas Galanti announced Thursday, Oct. 21.
Jonathan Santos, 36, of 102nd Street on Richmond Hill, was arraigned Wednesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Edwin Novillo on a 252-count complaint charging him with multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm and numerous other charges for allegedly having a huge cache of illegal weapons, including ghost guns, magazines and ammunition, in his home and car.
This is the fourth gun bust since August that has included the seizure of dozens of completed ghost guns, the components to complete dozens more, accessories that turn pistols into automatic weapons and more than 32,000 rounds of ammunition.
“Using traditional investigative techniques, coupled with accurate intelligence gathering and analysis, my office is working in partnership with the NYPD to take these tools of death off our streets and hold accountable those who seek to profit by selling them,” Katz said. “I call it the ‘Polymer Pipeline’ because a crucial component of these ghost guns is made of durable polymer plastic. We have a clear message to those who think they can get away with bringing these ghost gun parts into our borough: Think again. We will find you, we will prosecute you and we will dismantle the Polymer Pipeline.”
Investigators were conducting ongoing surveillance of Santos who has allegedly been buying firearm parts online. On Monday, Oct. 18, police observed Santos allegedly putting long-gun cases into the trunk of his white Chrysler 300 and pulled him over after he drove away from his home.
Firearms and other material recovered from the car included seven completed semi-automatic ghost guns, two completed assault rifle ghost guns, one assault rifle, 25 magazines and 500 assorted rounds of ammo, prosecutors said.
According to the charges, Santos was taken into custody and Queens Criminal Court Judge Eugene Guarino signed a search warrant for the Santos home. Police executed the warrant and allegedly recovered a stockpile from his 102nd Street home that included 21 firearms, such as assault rifles, fully automatic machine guns, fully automatic pistols and shotguns.
Police also recovered 110 high-capacity magazines, three silencers, approximately 15,000 rounds of ammunition and numerous firearms-related components, parts and tools commonly used to manufacture ghost guns.
“We call them ghost guns because they are assembled piecemeal, have no serial numbers and are untraceable to investigators,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “But the destruction wrought by criminals who wield them is anything but invisible and the NYPD and its partners are working around the clock to eradicate them, whether by regulating them, cutting off their supply over a virtual Iron Pipeline, or seizing them in the streets before they can impact one more life, one more community.”
Since August, there have been a total of four gun takedowns in southeast Queens, two in Richmond Hill, one in Hollis and one in Rosedale. Katz said Santos does not have a license to possess or own firearms in New York City.
Judge Novillo ordered Santos to return to court on Nov. 9. If convicted, Santos faces up to 30 years in prison.