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Press Release

Queens Man Pleads Guilty to Purchasing Illegally Defaced Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York

Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, Joseph Miner pleaded guilty via videoconference before United States District Judge William F. Kuntz, II, to possessing a firearm with obliterated serial numbers.  When sentenced, Miner faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.

Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the guilty plea.

“With today’s guilty plea, Miner has been held accountable and faces a prison sentence for possessing an illegal firearm with obliterated serial numbers that he purchased from an undercover agent,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “This Office, together with our federal and local partners, is working tirelessly to prevent illegal firearms from endangering our community.” Mr. DuCharme expressed his grateful appreciation to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, for its outstanding work on the case.

As set forth in public filings, law enforcement began investigating Miner’s interest in illegally purchasing firearms in late 2019 when he posted on social media accounts his desire to obtain assault weapons and other firearms for a racial civil war or racial holy war.  Miner expressed support on social media for racially and ethnically motivated violence, including celebrating the August 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the December 2019 machete attack at a synagogue in Monsey, New York.  Although the defendant at times disavowed interest in conducting an attack himself, on multiple occasions he posted social media messages in which he displayed suicidal ideations and fantasized about “martyring” himself and “go[ing] out in a blaze of glory” in a mass-shooting attack. 

In April 2020, Miner initiated contact with an undercover law enforcement agent who was posing as a firearms dealer.  Miner requested firearms from the undercover agent knowing that the serial numbers were removed from the guns that the undercover agent was offering for sale. On May 12, 2020, Miner met the undercover agent at a Queens hotel and purchased a Glock 19 9mm semi-automatic handgun with an obliterated serial number.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Artie McConnell and Josh Hafetz are in charge of the prosecution.

The Defendant:

Age:  30
Bayside, Queens

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-554 (WFK)


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

Updated January 22, 2021

Firearms Offenses