Press Release

BROTHERS CHARGED AFTER SEIZURE OF HOMEMADE EXPLOSIVES, GHOST GUNS IN THEIR ASTORIA APARTMENT [PHOTO]

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Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Andrew and Angelo Hatziagelis were indicted on 130 counts of criminal possession of a weapon and related charges after an arsenal of improvised explosive devices and ghost guns, including assault rifles, was found inside an Astoria apartment they shared with their mother and another brother. Instructions for making a variety of bombs, anarchist propaganda and a “hit list,” with “cops, judges, politicians, celebrities” and “banker scum” scrawled on it, were also found during a search of the home.

Both Andrew, 39, and Angelo, 51, were remanded into custody.

District Attorney Katz said: “The city is safer today. My Crime Strategies and Intelligence Bureau launches investigations every day so that we find illegal weapons, including guns and in this case explosive devices. We cannot measure the number of lives that were saved, but we do know that these weapons will never hurt anyone.  My Crime Strategies and Intelligence Bureau launched this investigation. Upon securing a search warrant we worked with the NYPD, Homeland Security, State Police and uncovered eight fully operable bombs, several guns and numerous other weapons.”

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban said: “Today’s charges underscore the harsh reality that our communities contain a small number of people who conceivably harbor evil intent. This cache of weapons – including explosives and untraceable, 3D-printed ghost guns – had the potential to wreak horrendous carnage. Along with our NYPD investigators, I thank all of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners for their persistence in identifying, investigating, and holding fully accountable anyone who poses a risk to New Yorkers’ safety and well-being.”

Homeland Security Investigations New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Erin Keegan said: “HSI New York is committed to supporting our law enforcement partners when they call. In this case, the collaboration among various law enforcement agencies led to a discovery that most certainly could have saved lives. I thank the members of the HSI Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) and the Queens District Attorney’s Office, along with the NYPD, ATF, and the New York State Police, for their outstanding efforts to resolve a potentially dangerous situation.”

The defendants, both of 36th Avenue in Astoria, are awaiting arraignment on a 130-count indictment charging them with eight counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree, nine counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, 47 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, six counts of criminal possession of a firearm, eight counts of reckless endangerment in the second degree, 14 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, six counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree, 15 counts of make/transport/dispose/deface weapons and dangerous weapons, three counts of unlawful purchase of body armor, one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, one count of attempted criminal possession of a firearm, and three counts of unlawful possession of a pistol or revolver ammunition, and nine counts of unlawfully dealing with fireworks and dangerous fireworks.

The defendants’ next court date is February 15. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison.

According to the charges:

  • Based upon prior intelligence, members of the Queens District Attorney’s Crime Strategies & Intelligence Bureau launched an investigation into the purchase of firearm component parts, accessories, and the manufacture of illegal ghost guns by the defendants.
  • Members of the NYPD were brought into the investigation to assist in the collection of additional data and a search warrant was secured.

On January 17, law enforcement officials executed a search warrant on the brothers’ residence resulting in their arrests and the seizure of:

  • Eight operational improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
  • One partially constructed trip-wire IED
  • Two loaded AR-15 style ghost gun assault weapons, each with a detachable magazine, muzzle compensator and threaded barrel
  • Two loaded 9 mm semiautomatic ghost gun pistols
  • Two loaded 9 mm semiautomatic 3D printed ghost gun pistols
  • One partially constructed AK-47 style ghost gun
  • Over 600 rounds of ammunition for each of the firearms above
  • One 3D printer
  • Three sets of body armor
  • Six additional AR/pistol lower receivers
  • 29 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, 13 of which were personally manufactured utilizing a 3D printer
  • Tools to assemble ghost guns
  • Metal knuckles
  • A radio set to the frequency of the 114th Precinct in Astoria
  • Several electronic devices (phones, computer)
  • Numerous notebooks containing instructions on the manufacture of explosive devices and anarchist related propaganda
  • Explosive residue, and components to manufacture additional IEDs
  • Nine pyrotechnic smoke bombs

Upon execution of the search warrant at the apartment complex, which is located directly across from a Con Edison power plant, members of the NYPD Bomb Squad were called to respond and subsequently evacuated the building due to the discovery of the live IEDs.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office’s successful investigations and prosecution of numerous ghost gun manufacturers and traffickers has resulted in Queens leading all of New York City in the total number of ghost gun recoveries each year since 2021.  In 2023, Queens led the boroughs with 113, or 31%, of the 359 ghost guns recovered citywide.  Since 2021, the Queens District Attorney’s efforts to rid the City of ghost guns has resulted in the recovery of 346 firearms, 875 high-capacity magazines, seven 3D printers, and over 113,000 rounds of ammunition.

The investigation was conducted by members of the District Attorney’s Detective Bureau under the supervision of Sergeant Joseph Oliver, Lieutenant Janet Helgeson, Lieutenant Joseph Falgiano, and under the overall supervision of Assistant Chief of Detectives Daniel O’Brien.

Also taking part in the investigation were NYPD Major Case Field Intelligence Detectives Mike Billotto, Victor Cardona, Paul Molinaro, John Schultz, Christopher Thomas, John Uske and Sergeant Christopher Schmitt, under the supervision of Sergeants Bogdan Tabor and Captain Christian Jara, and under the overall supervision of Inspector Courtney Nilan. NYPD Bomb Squad members Lieutenant Mark Torre, Sergeant Ryan Doherty, Detective Michael O’Neill, and Detective Christopher Toal provided invaluable assistance during the execution of the search warrant.

The District Attorney also thanks members of the Homeland Security Investigations, the New York State Police, United States Postal Inspector, and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their assistance in this case.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Bello, of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies and Intelligence Bureau, is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Intelligence Analyst Robert Sajeva, and Supervising Intelligence Analyst Jennifer Rudy, under the joint supervision of Assistant District Attorney Shanon LaCorte, Bureau Chief along with Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Sennett, Bureau Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau; under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of Investigations Gerard Brave.

 

**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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