A Rhode Island man was arrested by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents Thursday for allegedly trying to sell dozens of illegal "ghost guns," some of which were allegedly transported through the Bronx.
Federal New York prosecutors allege in a criminal complaint that Robert Alcantara, 34, of Providence, was caught trying to assemble and sell more than 100 weapons.
ATF officials said criminals often try to buy privately made firearms or so-called "ghost guns" because they are often untraceable. Investigators allege Alcantara was purchasing gun parts and assembling them for sale in his Rhode Island home. They said they seized parts during a search, including 45 ghost gun parts in his car.
"Untraceable ‘ghost guns’ pose a serious threat to public safety,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damien Williams said. "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."
ATF agents allege Alcantara also lied when he was questioned about whether he just had parts for weapons or was trying to sell them. They claim a co-conspirator was seen with Alcantara buying more than 80 gun parts -- upper and lower receivers -- in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, for about $16,000. Photos of some weapons and parts were recovered from Alcantara’s cellphone, investigators say.
“Stopping the flow of these firearms is a top priority of ATF,” said New York ATF Director John DeVito.
The trafficking and lying charges each carry up to five years in prison.
Officials allege Alcantara had been engaged in the weapons trafficking scheme for more than two years. He was expected to appear in federal court in Rhode Island later Thursday. His attorney information was not immediately available.
In addition to allegedly selling ghost guns in the United States, officials accuse the suspect of trying to sell to customers in the Dominican Republic. He allegedly offered to have his own mother deliver some of the weapons.