New York—A sergeant in New York City has been accused of illegally making handguns and assault weapons, then selling them to criminals.
Gregg Marinelli, 38, a sergeant with the city's Department of Environmental Protection Police, was arrested Thursday and charged with six felonies: criminal sale of a firearm, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, manufacture/disposition of a weapon, conspiracy and hindering prosecution.
"This has to be one of the most egregious breaches of trust that I have encountered," Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said, according to the Times Herald-Record. "I am furious. Number one, about the leak in the case; and number two, the conduct, the possibility of putting untraceable guns on the street." Marinelli is being held in Orange County Jail in lieu of bail, which was set at $200,000 cash or $600,000 bond by Deerpark Town Court.
State Police and agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found gun parts, tools used to make weapons and several firearms, including at least one fully automatic assault rifle, at his home in home in Plattekill in Ulster County, 75 miles north of New York City. Many of the weapons were “ghost” guns which means they were manufactured without serial numbers. Police say the guns were sold to outlaw motorcycle groups and other people with criminal convictions, who are barred from owning guns.
"I am enraged that a police officer would sell exactly the types of weapons that are used to kill innocent people, including police officers," Hoovler said. "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."
Marinelli is accused of delivering some of the illegal guns using his marked police car. Thirteen handguns and assault rifles were recovered from others. Anyone else who bought guns from Marinelli are asked to turn them 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," the State Police said. The arrest of Marinelli is an off-shoot of a drug trafficking case in Orange and Rockland Counties that uncovered a cocaine-dealing motorcycle club and another operation that sold pills containing fentanyl.