Convicted Felon and Organized Crime Associate Sentenced to 72 Months’ Imprisonment For Possession of Machineguns
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Paul Ragusa, an associate of the Bonanno and Gambino organized crime families, was sentenced by United States District Judge Pamela K. Chen to 72 months’ imprisonment for possessing nine firearms, including three automatic assault rifles and a silencer. Ragusa possessed the firearms while serving a custodial sentence at a residential re-entry facility in connection with three prior felony convictions. Ragusa pleaded guilty to the firearms charge in October 2018.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the sentence.
“While serving a prior sentence for violent crimes involving machineguns, Ragusa was ready and willing to transport more guns, including assault rifles,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Today’s sentence incapacitates the defendant, who clearly continues to pose a danger to the community.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and New York City Police Department, as well as law enforcement partners in Canada, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the GTA Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Ontario Regional Office.
Between July and October 2017, Ragusa met with a cooperating witness (CW) whom he knew through their prior affiliation with the Giannini Crew, a criminal enterprise responsible for numerous violent crimes. During recorded conversations with the CW, Ragusa agreed to commit a murder-for-hire. Ragusa stated that he did not need a gun, because he would stick an “ice pick” through the victim’s head.
On October 25, 2017, the CW asked Ragusa if he knew anyone who could transport firearms. Ragusa responded, “Yeah, me! I’ll do it!” On November 2, 2017, Ragusa met an undercover FBI agent who drove him to a warehouse in Nassau County, where Ragusa packed nine firearms, including two AK-47 assault rifles and one M16 rifle, into a large bag. Ragusa and the agent drove to a parking lot in Queens, where Ragusa loaded the firearms into a waiting undercover FBI vehicle. Ragusa was paid $2,000 in cash. Unbeknownst to Ragusa, the firearms were the property of the FBI and had been rendered inoperable.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Tanya Hajjar and Drew Rolle are in charge of the prosecution.
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CR-613 (PKC)