Two Brothers Indicted on 130 Charges Following NYPD Raid

Photo: Queens District Attorney Two brothers in New York City are facing 130 criminal counts after a raid on their apartment uncovered an alarming cache of weapons, homemade bombs, and a disturbing "hit list" targeting...

A police raid of a New York apartment yielded a large amount of weapons as shown in a photo from the Queens District Attorney Photo: Queens District Attorney

Two brothers in New York City are facing 130 criminal counts after a raid on their apartment uncovered an alarming cache of weapons, homemade bombs, and a disturbing "hit list" targeting law enforcement officials, politicians, celebrities, and bankers. The Queens District Attorney's Office announced the indictment of Andrew and Angelo Hatziagelis, aged 39 and 51 respectively, in a news release on Monday.

The investigation into the brothers began when intelligence indicated their involvement in acquiring parts and accessories for ghost guns, which are untraceable firearms often sold in kits and privately assembled. A subsequent raid on their Astoria, Queens apartment resulted in the discovery of explosives, prompting the evacuation of the entire building by the NYPD bomb squad. The law enforcement agency seized numerous weapons, including two AR-15 style ghost guns, body armor, over 600 rounds of ammunition, and smoke bombs.

Photo provided by the Queens District Attorney Photo: Queens District Attorney

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz commended the NYPD's efforts, stating, "The city is safer today. We cannot measure the number of lives that were saved, but we do know that these weapons will never hurt anyone." If convicted, the brothers could face up to 25 years in prison.

What Are Ghost Guns?

Ghost guns are firearms that are typically assembled from kits purchased online or 3D-printed, lacking serial numbers and thus making them untraceable. These weapons also allow buyers to bypass background checks. In the case of the Hatziagelis brothers, many of the weapons recovered, including semi-automatic pistols, were assembled with parts made by a 3D printer. Alongside the arsenal, ammunition, and hit list, the police also seized the brothers' 3D printer.

The Queens District Attorney's Office has taken a proactive approach in cracking down on ghost gun manufacturers and traffickers, leading a successful citywide operation. Queens has seen more ghost guns recovered than any other borough in New York City since 2021.

According to a report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, there has been a significant increase in the number of ghost guns recovered nationwide, with a corresponding rise in their use in crimes. The report reveals that the number of suspected ghost guns seized by law enforcement and submitted for tracing increased by over 1,000% from 2017 to 2021. This number more than doubled from 2020 to 2021.

To address the issue, President Joe Biden implemented new regulations in 2022, classifying ghost guns under the Gun Control Act. These rules require manufacturers to obtain federal licenses and conduct background checks before making a sale. Additionally, gun parts must now have serial numbers. In October, the Supreme Court ordered two sellers of ghost gun parts to comply with Biden's regulations, overturning a previous ruling in favor of the companies.

Contributing: Grace Hauck, USA TODAY

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