Four northeast Queens residents were arrested and charged with possessing arsenals of illegal ghost guns in their Bayside and Flushing homes, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday, March 3.
Multi-agency raids at the four homes early Tuesday, March 1, seized dozens of firearms, including 27 ghost guns, assault weapons, firearm accessories, more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition and high-capacity magazines, and $50,000 in cash, according to Katz.
The raids followed a long-term investigation that utilized various surveillance techniques, intelligence gathering and state-of-the-art analytics that focused on individuals who were purchasing polymer-based firearm components — parts that do not include any serial numbers — that can be easily assembled at home into operable firearms, Katz explained during a press conference with NYPD Chief of Intelligence Thomas Galanti and Inspector Courtney Nilan, commanding officer of the Field Intelligence Program.
“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,” Katz said. “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.”
Defendants Andrew Chang, 34, of Bayside; Kai Zhoa, 45, of Flushing; Michael Frankenfield, 55, of Flushing; and Seowong Chung, 35, of Flushing, were arraigned March 2 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Anthony Battisti on three separate complaints charging them with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm, the unlawful possession of unfinished frames or receivers and other related crimes. Katz said all four defendants do not have licenses to own or possess firearms in New York City.
“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,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said in a statement. “These guns, often ordered online and shipped to New York City, shoot real bullets that victimize New Yorkers. But our joint, intelligence-driven focus on interrupting the supply chain for these weapons, and keeping them from hitting the streets, is intensifying thanks to the strong partnership between the NYPD, our Major Case Field Intelligence Team, and the office of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and her prosecutors who remain relentless in pursuing these important investigations and ensuring safety for all.”
If convicted, defendants Chang and Chung face up to 15 years in prison and Frankenfeld and Zhao face up to 25 years in prison. Since August, Katz said the crackdown on the “polymer pipeline” have resulted in five takedowns, in addition to Tuesday’s raids, with two in Richmond Hill, one in Hollis, one in Rosedale and one in Fresh Meadows, with a total of 10 defendants charged.