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Press Release

Brooklyn Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Traffic Firearms into Brooklyn

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant Sold 18 Guns, Fentanyl and Cocaine Base to an Undercover Officer

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Ariana Charles pleaded guilty to trafficking firearms and conspiring to distribute fentanyl and cocaine base.  The proceeding was held before United States District Judge William F. Kuntz II.  The defendant was charged in January 2024 under the provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first federal statute specifically designed to target gun trafficking, which Congress and the President enacted in June 2022.  When sentenced, Charles faces a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment for the controlled substance distribution conspiracy and 15 years’ imprisonment for firearms trafficking. 

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Frank A Tarentino III, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA) and Edward A. Caban, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the guilty plea.

“This Office has made it a top priority to stop the illicit flow of firearms and drugs into our community and today’s guilty plea is the result of those ongoing efforts,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “Gang members, felons and violent individuals who use deadly weapons to inflict irreparable harm on our community do not come into possession of these instruments of death out of thin air; instead, they rely on traffickers like this defendant, who must be held accountable for their role in the violence that results from the use of these weapons.”

According to the indictment, statements made during the plea proceeding and court documents, Charles personally sold 18 firearms to an undercover law enforcement officer (the “UC”) in residential areas of Brooklyn in broad daylight, including in and around the New York City Housing Authority’s Breukelen Houses, outside other apartment buildings and in shopping center parking lots.  The UC told Charles and her co-conspirators that he was a drug dealer who needed guns and was going to resell them.  Several guns sold by Charles were purchased in Virginia and Georgia and then transported to New York.  Among other weapons, Charles sold a firearm with a defaced serial number and several semi-automatic rifles.

Charles also sold drugs to the UC, including crack cocaine and fentanyl.  Some of the fentanyl she sold had been disguised as Oxycodone pills.

Four of Charles’s co-conspirators are awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiring to traffic firearms into Brooklyn in the first case in New York to publicly charge the gun trafficking provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Adam Amir, Irisa Chen and James R. Simmons are in charge of the prosecution. 

The Defendant:

Age:  28
, New York

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 24-CR-8 (WFK)


John Marzulli
Danielle Blustein Hass                            
United States Attorney’s Office
(718) 254-6323

Updated June 12, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses