Rhode Island Man Charged in Manhattan for Trafficking ‘Ghost’ Guns

1 year ago

A Rhode Island man was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today with conspiring to traffic firearms and with making false statements. According to court documents, Robert Alcantara, 34, of Providence, was arrested today and presented in the District of Rhode Island.

“Untraceable ‘ghost guns’ pose a serious threat to public safety,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. “As alleged, the defendant agreed with others to buy the parts for these firearms, put them together at his home, and then unlawfully sold or attempted to sell over 100 of them. Thanks to our law enforcement partners, the defendant has been arrested, and his deadly ghost gun business has been shut down.”

“As alleged, Robert Alcantara engaged in trafficking untraceable, Privately Made Firearms (PMF’s), commonly called 'ghost guns,'” said Special Agent in Charge John B. DeVito of ATF New York. “Stopping the flow of these firearms is a top priority of ATF, and we will rigorously pursue those who illegally sell these firearms. I applaud the NYSP who initiated this investigation through superb investigative actions, as well as our partners at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement and the NYPD for their vital and continued contributions to the investigations.”    

“As is alleged to have happened here, the trafficking of PMFs poses a danger to our communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement New York Field Office. “The Office of Export Enforcement will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to combat the illegal smuggling of firearms, including ‘ghost guns’ that are difficult to trace.”

According to the allegations in the complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

From September 2019 up to November 2021, Alcantara and others entered an agreement in which Alcantara purchased the parts for more than 100 ghost guns, machined the ghost guns at his house in Providence, Rhode Island, and then illegally sold the working and completed ghost guns. On Nov. 20, 2021, law enforcement recovered parts for 45 ghost guns from Alcantara’s car. When interviewed by law enforcement, Alcantara falsely told them that he had never sold or transferred ownership of a firearm to any other individual, and that he had never transported a firearm to the Dominican Republic.

Below are photographs of the 45 ghost guns seized from Alcantara’s house, as well as photographs of firearms Alcantara intended to sell to buyers:

Alcantara is charged with: (1) conspiracy to traffic firearms, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and (2) making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York; Special Agent in Charge John B. DeVito of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and Special Agent in Charge Johnathan Carson of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement’s New York Field Office made the announcement.

U.S. Attorney Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the ATF and the Department of Commerce. U.S. Attorney Williams also thanked the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police Department, the Providence Police Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island for their assistance in the case.

The case is being handled by the office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Mead is in charge of the prosecution.

A complaint is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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