Queens Man Sentenced to 57 Months’ Imprisonment for Purchasing Illegally Defaced Firearm
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Joseph Miner was sentenced by United States District Judge William F. Kuntz, II, to 57 months’ imprisonment for purchasing an illegally defaced firearm in May 2020.
Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the sentence.
“Today’s sentence holds Miner accountable for his knowing purchase of a firearm that could not be traced because its serial number had been removed,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis. “I commend the swift action taken by members of law enforcement to address the serious threat that possession of illegal guns poses to the safety of the community.”
Law enforcement authorities began investigating Miner’s interest in illegally purchasing firearms in late 2019, when he posted on social media 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 Miner 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 posing as a firearms dealer. Miner requested to purchase firearms from the undercover agent, knowing that the serial numbers that allow the weapons to be traced were removed from the guns that the undercover agent was offering for sale. Following further communications to set up the gun purchase, Miner and a co-defendant met the undercover agent at a Queens hotel on the evening of May 12, 2020. Miner purchased a Glock 9mm 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.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 21-CR-554 (WFK)