St. Albans man indicted in state’s first prosecution of international ghost gun trafficking ring: DA

St. Albans
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announces the takedown of a St. Albans-based international ghost gun trafficking operation. (File photo by Dean Moses)

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz launched the state’s first prosecution of an international ghost gun trafficking operation.

Javon Fournillier, 27, of Farmers Boulevard in St. Albans, and Anthony Kyle Wilson, 27, of Conroe, Texas, were indicted for assembling ghost guns and selling the untraceable firearms in New York City and Trinidad. The investigation was conducted by the district attorney’s Crime Strategies and Intelligence Unit, which is increasingly finding that the weapons are being assembled at home by gainfully employed people with no prior criminal history.

Fournillier and his co-defendant were indicted last month which includes more than 600 felony counts including conspiracy, 159 counts of criminal possession of a weapon and 159 counts of felony manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances. Fournillier is also charged with an additional seven counts of attempted criminal sale of a firearm, Katz said. A second 28-count indictment charges Founillier with criminal possession of a weapon, reckless endangerment, criminal possession of a firearm and seven counts of unlawful possession of pistol ammunition, among other crimes.

According to the charges, Fournillier was identified in June as an online purchaser of ghost gun parts, which are unserialized, making the fully assembled guns untraceable. The initial investigation revealed that Fournillier ordered enough components to build up to 45 ghost guns. On July 15, a search warrant for Fournilier’s St. Albans home was executed wherein a ghost gun and some additional accessories were recovered. The firearm recovered was matched to a shots-fired incident in St. Albans that occurred 13 days before it was seized at Fournilier’s residence on July 2. The incident was captured on video surveillance, providing sufficient evidence to charge Fournillier with this crime in addition to possessing the ghost gun in his residence.

A financial analysis revealed that Fournillier also rented a storage locker in Jamaica, where additional firearm components, including numerous lower receivers, high-capacity magazines, and ammunition, were recovered pursuant to an additional search warrant, according to the district attorney’s office. A forensic analysis of Fournillier’s cell phone revealed he enlisted Texas resident Kyle Wilson to receive delivery of firearm components and ammunition that is prohibited in New York. Wilson, in turn, shipped the components to Fournillier, who paid him approximately $100 to $200 per shipment. With the necessary components in hand, Fournillier assembled ghost guns at a cost of approximately $500 per weapon. He then sold the guns for between $1,000 and $1,800 to individuals in New York City and Trinidad. The arsenal included a 9-millimeter semiautomatic ghost gun pistol, 14 additional complete ghost gun kits, 42 large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, one short barrel rifle conversion kit — which can convert a semiautomatic pistol into an assault weapon — and more than 2,700 rounds of ammunition.

“Ghost gun trafficking is a burgeoning cottage industry,” Katz said. “We are seeing individuals with no criminal history assembling and selling ghost guns to supplement their legal income.”

Since it was created 18 months ago by District Attorney Katz, the Crime Strategies and Intelligence Unit has launched investigations leading to 25 defendants being charged, including a pharmacist and an airline mechanic, as well as the recovery of hundreds of firearms and firearm accessories and more than 95,000 rounds of ammunition.

Last year, Queens led the city’s district attorney’s offices in ghost gun seizures with 174, or 40 %, of the 436 ghost guns recovered, which included assault weapons and machine guns. Ghost gun recoveries citywide were up 66% last year, from 263 in 2021 to 436. Ghost guns last year accounted for 12.2% of all guns recovered in the five boroughs, up from 4.4 percent in 2021 and 2.7 percent in 2020.

“It is a deeply troubling trend that threatens to make an already pervasive gun violence problem much worse,” Katz said. “It is why this investigation and our efforts to go after ghost gun makers are so important.”

As charged in the indictment against Fournillier and Wilson, it was the purpose of the conspiracy to obtain, manufacture, possess, transport and sell firearm components and completed ghost guns in Queens and elsewhere in New York State, as well as Trinidad.

Fournillier faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted and Wilson faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.