District Attorney Hoovler and New York State Police Announce Arrest of Police Officer for Manufacture and Sale of “Ghost” Handguns & Assault Rifles
New York City Department of Environmental Protection Police Sergeant Accused of Manufacturing and Selling Large Numbers of Guns to Those without Pistol Permits Including Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs
Case arose out of “Operation Bread, White and Blues” Enforcement Action Which Targeted Narcotics Distributors and Outlaw Motorcycle Club Members
Police Officer Charged with Tipping-Off Target of Investigation
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and the New York State Police announced on Thursday, February 28, 2019, Gregg Marinelli, 38, of Plattekill, New York, was arrested and charged with crimes including: Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree, for illegally selling more than five firearms in a one-year period; Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, (as an accessory); Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, (as an accessory for another person’s possession a weapon he defaced and sold); Manufacture/Disposition of a Weapon (for manufacturing numerous assault rifles), Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, (for conspiring to sell a loaded and defaced .40 caliber pistol), and Hindering Prosecution in the Second Degree (for alerting a suspect that he was the target of a police investigation). Marinelli, who is a police officer with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Police, who holds the rank of Sergeant and is a Team Leader of with an Emergency Service Unit located outside of New York City, is accused of manufacturing dozens of handguns and assault rifles, including at least one fully automatic assault rifle, and selling them to individuals who are legally barred from possessing such weapons. It is alleged that Marinelli assembled the guns in his Plattekill home and sold them to others, including members of outlaw motorcycle groups and those with criminal convictions, sometimes delivering the illegal weapon using his marked police car. Many of the weapons alleged to have been sold by Marinelli were “ghost” guns, meaning that he manufactured them without serial numbers, or in were some instances defaced weapons which had their serial numbers removed. “Ghost” guns are difficult to trace and are therefore often sought after by those planning to use the guns illegally.
The investigation into Marinelli arose out of the recent enforcement action dubbed “Operation Bread, White and Blues”which concentrated on two separate conspiracies, one of which primarily involved members and associates of self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs trafficking cocaine, and another of which involves the sale of narcotic pills. Marinelli is not accused of any offenses related to the sale or possession of narcotics but became a subject of the investigation when information was developed suggesting that he may have alerted a suspect that he was a target of the investigation.
Although police officers are generally exempt from offenses related to the possession of weapons, Marinelli has been charged with acting in concert with others in their illegal possession of weapons he had sold them. Marinelli is currently being held in the Orange County Jail in lieu of bail, which was set by the Town of Deerpark Court in the amount of $200,000 cash or $600,000 bond and is scheduled to next appear on March 7, 2019.
On February 28, 2019, members of the New York State Police, aided by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Explosives and Firearms, executed a search warrant at Marinelli’s home in Plattekill and recovered gun parts, tools used to manufacture weapons, and numerous firearms. Since that time the New York State Police have recovered thirteen handguns and assault rifles from others which have been alleged to have been created and sold by Marinelli.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police for their efforts in this investigation. District Attorney Hoovler highly commended the New York State Police for their investigation given the complexity of the case.
All those who bought firearms from Gregg Marinelli are encouraged to call the New York State Police at (845) 344-5300 to arrange to turn the weapons in. Those who voluntarily surrender the weapons in this manner will not be prosecuted for their possession of the weapons, although they could be prosecuted for any crimes committed with the weapons.
“I am enraged that a police officer would sell exactly the types of weapons that are used to kill innocent people, including police officers,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “The types of ‘ghost’ guns which were recovered in this case are valuable to criminals precisely because they are difficult to trace. A police officer who alerts an armed drug dealer who has proudly proclaimed his status as ‘outlaw’ motorcycle club member, that he is the subject of police investigation, not only compromises that investigation, but puts his fellow police officers at risk. Enforcement actions such as “Operation Bread, White and Blues” which are designed to pursue those higher-level drug dealers and craftier offenders who attempt to insulate themselves from criminal liability by dealing drugs through intermediaries, are inherently dangerous for the police to investigate. That danger raises exponentially when the targets know they are being investigated and are given access to illegal, untraceable weapons.”
A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.