DISTRICT ATTORNEY KATZ LAUNCHES STATE’S FIRST PROSECUTION OF INTERNATIONAL GHOST GUN TRAFFICKING OPERATION
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the indictment of a Queens man and his associate in Texas, charging them with assembling ghost guns and selling the untraceable firearms in New York City and Trinidad. The case is the first prosecution in New York State of an international ghost gun trafficking operation. The investigation was conducted by the district attorney’s Crime Strategies and Intelligence Unit, a leader in ghost gun seizures. The team is increasingly finding that the weapons are being assembled at home by gainfully employed individuals with no prior criminal history.
District Attorney Katz said: “Ghost gun trafficking is a burgeoning cottage industry. We are seeing individuals with no criminal history assembling and selling ghost guns to supplement their legal income. It is a deeply troubling trend that threatens to make an already pervasive gun violence problem much worse. It is why this investigation and our efforts to go after ghost gun makers are so important.”
Javon Fournillier, 27, of Farmers Blvd. in St. Albans, and Anthony Kyle Wilson, 27, of Jewel Court, Conroe, Texas, face a raft of charges, including conspiracy in the fourth degree; 159 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree; and 159 counts of felony manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapons and dangerous instruments and appliances. Additionally, Fournillier is charged with seven counts of attempted criminal sale of a firearm. In total, the indictment includes more than 600 felony counts.
A second, 28-count indictment charges Fournillier with criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, criminal possession of a firearm, and seven counts of unlawful possession of pistol ammunition, among other crimes.
Fournillier faces up to 22 years in prison, if convicted; Wilson up to seven years.
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 residence 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 occurred13 days before it was seized July 2 at Fournilier’s residence. 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, Queens, where additional firearm components, including numerous lower receivers, high-capacity magazines and ammunition, were recovered pursuant to an additional search warrant.
- A forensic analysis of Fournillier’s cell phone revealed he enlisted Texas resident Kyle Wilson to receive delivery of firearm components and ammunition that are 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.
As a result of the search warrants executed in connection with this investigation, the following items were recovered:
- One 9-millimeter semiautomatic ghost gun pistol;
- 42 large-capacity ammunition feeding devices, each capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, some of which were capable of holding more than 50 rounds;
- 14 additional complete ghost gun kits;
- One short barrel rifle conversion kit, which can covert a semiautomatic pistol into an assault weapon; and
- More than 2,700 rounds of ammunition.
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, as well as more than 95,000 rounds of ammunition.
Earlier this month, Grzegorz Blachowicz was charged in a 131-count indictment following a long-term investigation found he purchased polymer-based ghost gun components. Blachowicz was charged after search warrants executed at his home and a storage unit uncovered an arsenal of firearms and ammunition.
Last year, Queens led the city’s district attorney’s offices in ghost gun seizures with 174 (or 40.0 percent) of the 436 ghost guns recovered, which included assault weapons and machine guns.
Ghost gun recoveries citywide were up 66 percent last year, from 263 in 2021 to 436. Ghost guns last year accounted for 12.2 percent of all guns recovered in the five boroughs, up from 4.4 percent in 2021 and 2.7 percent in 2020.
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.
The investigation was conducted by Assistant District Attorney Attaul Haq of the Crime Strategies and Intelligence Unit, with the assistance of Supervising Intelligence Analyst Jennifer Rudy, and Intelligence Analysts Victoria Filipe and Robert Sajeva, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Shanon LaCorte, Unit Director, and Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Gerard Brave. Also assisting with the investigation were members of the District Attorney’s Detective Bureau assigned to the Crime Strategies and Intelligence Unit under the supervision of Sergeant Joseph Oliver and Lieutenant Janet Helgeson, and under the overall supervision of Chief of Detectives Thomas Conforti.
Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Modica, of the District Attorney’s Felony Trial Bureau IV, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Robert Ferino and Timothy Regan, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and Karen Rankin, Bureau Chief, under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of the Supreme Court Trial Division Pishoy Yacoub.
**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.