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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 6, 2022

Rhode Island Man Charged In Manhattan For Trafficking ‘Ghost’ Guns

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, John B. DeVito, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and Johnathan Carson, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office, announced that ROBERT ALCANTARA was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed today with conspiring to traffic firearms and with making false statements.  ALCANTARA was arrested today and presented in the District of Rhode Island.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Untraceable ‘ghost guns’ pose a serious threat to public safety.  As alleged, the defendant agreed with others to buy the parts for these firearms, put them together at his home, and then unlawfully sold or attempted to sell over 100 of them.  Thanks to our law enforcement partners, the defendant has been arrested, and his deadly ghost gun business has been shut down.”

John B. DeVito, ATF New York Special Agent-in-Charge said:  “As alleged, Robert Alcantara engaged in trafficking untraceable, Privately Made Firearms (PMF’s), commonly called ghost guns.  Stopping the flow of these firearms is a top priority of ATF, and we will rigorously pursue those who illegally sell these firearms.  I applaud the NYSP who initiated this investigation through superb investigative actions, as well as our partners at the US Department of Commerce, Office of Export Enforcement and the NYPD for their vital and continued contributions to the investigations.”    

US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security, Office of Export Enforcement New York Field Office Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Carson said:  “As is alleged to have happened here, the trafficking of Privately Made Firearms poses a danger to our communities. The Office of Export Enforcement will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to combat the illegal smuggling of firearms, including ‘ghost guns’ that are difficult to trace.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

From September 2019 up to November 2021, ALCANTARA and others entered an agreement in which ALCANTARA purchased the parts for more than 100 “ghost guns,” machined the ghost guns at his house in Providence, Rhode Island, and then illegally sold the working and completed ghost guns.  On November 20, 2021, law enforcement recovered parts for 45 ghost guns from ALCANTARA’s car.  When interviewed by law enforcement, ALCANTARA falsely told them that he had never sold or transferred ownership of a firearm to any other individual, and that he had never transported a firearm to the Dominican Republic.

Below are photographs of the 45 “ghost guns” seized from ALCANTARA’s house, as well as photographs of firearms ALCANTARA intended to sell to buyers:          

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ALCANTARA, 34, of Providence, Rhode Island, is charged with: (1) conspiracy to traffic firearms, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, and (2) making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the ATF and the Department of Commerce.  Mr. Williams also thanked the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police Department, the Providence Police Department, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island for their assistance in the case.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Kevin Mead is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges 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 descriptions of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Contact: 
Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
22-002
Updated January 6, 2022