(NEW YORK) — As police across the country have grappled with illegal guns on American streets, an increasing number of those weapons are “ghost guns” they say — guns that lack serial numbers or other traceable components.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors in New York charged a Rhode Island man who they said trafficked dozens of ghost guns to the Bronx and the Dominican Republic.
Robert Alcantara has been involved in the sale or attempted sale of what appear to be more than 100 firearms, mostly “ghost gun” handguns that he purchased in incomplete form and then finished at a workstation at his house, Kiran Mathew, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a sworn complaint.
Alcantara is charged with conspiracy to traffic firearms and with making false statements about it when questioned by the ATF.
Alcantara showed off his skill at building ghost guns in a video the complaint said he posted to YouTube in 2019
The Justice Department reported last year that between 2016 and 2020, more than 23,000 weapons without serial numbers were recovered by law enforcement at potential crime scenes, including scenes connected to 325 homicides or attempted homicides.
An intelligence bulletin issued last year and obtained by ABC News said violent criminals and domestic extremists “likely favor use of (‘ghost guns’) in lethal attacks based on a review of recent incidents and investigations and the challenges of tracking un-serialized firearm components.”
Alcantara contributed to the proliferation by assembling these guns at a home workshop using components he purchased at gun shows, according to the complaint.
He was arrested in Rhode Island Thursday morning and made an initial court appearance in Providence.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Alcantara had a lawyer.
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