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Press Release

New York Man Arrested For Trafficking Guns, Machinegun Conversion Devices, And Narcotics

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

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Ivan J. Arvelo, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”); Daniel B. Brubaker, the Inspector in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service ("USPIS"); and Edward A. Caban, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced today the arrest of CALEB ECCLES-GONSALVES in connection with his sale and distribution of firearms, machinegun conversion devices (“MCDs”), silencers, ammunition, and narcotics.  ECCLES-GONSALVES was arrested this morning in St. Petersburg, Florida, and will be presented later today in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged, Caleb Eccles-Gonsalves participated in a scheme to illegally traffic various contraband into and around New York City, including guns, narcotics, and gun accessories like machinegun conversion devices, silencers, and ammunition.  Machinegun conversion devices are particularly dangerous gun accessories that turn ordinary firearms into fully automatic weapons.  Removing these extraordinarily dangerous devices from our streets is an important law enforcement goal, and we will continue working diligently with our law enforcement partners to keep these devices and other illegal guns out of New York City.”

HSI Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo said: “As alleged, the defendant trafficked illicit high-powered weapons, accessories, and ghost guns and in turn overlooked the incalculable dangers posed to the public.  HSI New York is committed to working with law enforcement partners to confront violent crime and its underlying causes directly.  I commend HSI’s Violent Gang Task Force, the New York Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for our shared dedication to removing illegal guns from our streets.”

USPIS Inspector in Charge Daniel B. Brubaker said: “The defendants allegedly used the U.S. Mail to traffic and distribute illegal firearms and other contraband in New York City without any regard for public safety in our communities.  The United States Postal Inspection Service will continue to aggressively pursue and investigate anyone who attempts to use the mail to encourage gun violence and ongoing drug use in our communities.  Combating these illegal activities will always be a priority for postal inspectors.  I commend our partners in the NYPD, HSI, and the U. S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York for their collaborative efforts on this investigation.”

NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban said: “These charges punctuate that the manufacturing and trafficking of fully assembled untraceable ghost guns, as well as their component parts, is among the most pressing public safety concerns in New York City today.  NYPD investigators and our federal partners will continue to vigorously pursue these types of cases in order to deliver on our promise to keep all New Yorkers safe, and to hold accountable anyone who allegedly involves themselves in this illicit trade.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court, as well as publicly filed court documents and statements at public court proceedings:1

From about July 2023 up to and including June 2024, ECCLES-GONSALVES participated in a conspiracy to sell at least two MCDs, multiple firearms — including a privately manufactured “ghost” gun (depicted below) — and narcotics.  An MCD is a combination of parts that, when installed on a semiautomatic firearm, enables the firearm to automatically shoot more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.  A “ghost” gun is an unserialized, privately manufactured firearm that is difficult to trace and typically constructed from a kit.

Photo of a privately manufactured “ghost” gun

ECCLES-GONSALVES and his co-conspirators used the U.S. Postal Service (“USPS”) to ship MCDs as well as firearms from Florida to New York.  In addition, ECCLES-GONSALVES advertised multiple guns, including at least one rifle, as available for sale.  Law enforcement seized USPS parcels during the course of the investigation and seized, among other things, a privately manufactured “ghost” gun, a silencer, an MCD, ammunition, and magazines.  A photo of a "ghost gun" and silencer seized from a USPS parcel during the course of this investigation is copied below:

Photo of a ghost gun and silencer seized from a USPS parcel

At the time of his arrest today, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant in the home in which ECCLES-GONSALVES was staying in St. Petersburg, Florida.  During the search, as depicted below, law enforcement officers recovered, among other things, 13 firearms, magazines, ammunition, and a lower receiver.

Photo of 13 firearms, magazines, ammunition, and a lower receiver seized from the home where the defendant was staying

*                *                *

ECCLES-GONSALVES, 29, of Brooklyn, New York, is charged with conspiracy to possess and transfer a machinegun, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison; possession and transfer of a machinegun, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 10 years in prison; conspiracy to engage in the unlicensed business of dealing in firearms, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison; and narcotics distribution, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

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

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of HSI, the NYPD, and USPIS.   

The case is being handled by the Office’s Violent and Organized Crime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ashley C. Nicolas and Timothy Ly are in charge of the prosecution.

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

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


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated July 2, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-234