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Press Release

Bronx Man Charged With Unlawful Possession Of Defaced Firearms And Firearms Silencers, And Narcotics Distribution

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

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), Ashan M. Benedict, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (“ATF”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced that RICHARD LAUGEL was arrested yesterday and charged with firearms and narcotics offenses.  LAUGEL will be presented this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker in Manhattan federal court.  

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, Richard Laugel had accumulated an arsenal of dangerous weapons in his Bronx apartment, including a grenade launcher and an assault rifle.  Thankfully, the local and federal law enforcement officers were able to arrest Laugel without incident, and his trove of dangerous weapons has been seized.”

HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said:  “It is important to note the collaborative efforts that went into locating and apprehending this individual.  And from what was found during this investigation, he appears to be a threat to public safety and someone we don’t want on the streets.  This collaboration, brought together by HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Taskforce, is paramount to finding the criminals who bring in goods from abroad to support their criminal activity in our local communities.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Ashan M. Benedict said:  “Laugel’s alleged conduct once again demonstrates the dangerous intersection between the distribution of narcotics, the illicit possession of firearms, and violent crime.  Laugel’s alleged conduct presented an extreme danger to the community, and we are grateful that he will now face prosecution in the Southern District of New York.  I would like to express my appreciation to our law enforcement partners for their work on this investigation.”

As alleged in the Complaint unsealed today in Manhattan federal court[1]:

On May 22, 2018, HSI and the NYPD executed a search warrant at LAUGEL’s home in the Bronx in connection with an alleged illegal operation to distribute controlled substances.  During the search, law enforcement officers recovered from LAUGEL’s home and garage, among other items, firearms silencers, a grenade launcher, an AR-15 Rifle, three handguns, two of which had defaced serial numbers, plastic molds used to make the lower receiver of handguns, firearms barrels, drill press and milling machines, ammunition, and a teddy bear that contained approximately 30 grams of cocaine.   

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LAUGEL is charged with the unlawful possession of firearms silencers, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; possession with intent to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and the unlawful possession of firearms with defaced serial numbers ,which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. 

The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of HSI, ATF, and the NYPD.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Alison Moe and Jacob Warren are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated May 24, 2018

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 18-174