In early 2022, the Yonkers Police Department’s Narcotics Unit launched a joint investigation with members of the DEA’s D-43 Group, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police, and the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office on illegal interstate trafficking of firearms to Yonkers.
Now that joint effort has led to the end of what law enforcement is calling an “iron pipeline” bringing illegal weapons to the Hudson Valley.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers Police Commissioner Chris Sapienza, Westchester County District Attorney Miriam Rocah and DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III announced Thursday a series of arrests in multi-agency investigation of illegal firearms trafficking.
Leaders reported that the investigation focused on trafficking in “ghost guns,” which are unserialized and untraceable firearms that can be easily assembled in the home into fully functioning firearms. Parts can be purchased online and through various retailers.
On June 24, Yonkers detectives arrested Jose Gregory Olivio Feliz, 27, of Yonkers, Pedro Junior Olivio Feliz, 21, of Yonkers, and Idanis Lora Espinal, 30, of Washington, DC. , in relation to the investigation. According to police, during those arrests, Netaly A. Peña Camilo, 25, of Washington, DC managed to evade arrest, but was located on June 29 by members of the investigative team, with the help of the FBI, Division of DEA Washington and the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department.
All four defendants were arraigned in Yonkers City Court and are currently being held without bail.
The joint investigation resulted in the seizure of two conventional firearms and 31 “ghost weapons” that investigators believe were purchased and assembled in Washington, DC, before being transported to Yonkers for sale.
“This investigation shows the incredible work that can be accomplished when highly trained investigators collaborate to achieve the ultimate goal of public safety,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Chris Sapienza said in announcing the arrests. “Thanks to the efforts of these detectives and their supervisors, more than 30 firearms have been removed from the streets of Yonkers and its surrounding communities.”
Authorities said Jose Gregorio Olivo Felliz is accused of selling a total of 31 phantom pistols and two conventional firearms in the city of Yonkers.
Pedro Junior Olivo Feliz is also accused of selling a total of 10 ghost guns in Yonkers.
Peña Camilo sold a total of 26 ghost pistols in the same city, in addition to the fact that on June 24, 2022, at approximately 10:30 a.m., he was in possession of 19 ghost pistols, according to police.
“New Yorkers should feel a little safer this holiday weekend after this gun trafficking ring operating from DC to NY has been shut down,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III. “DEA’s strategic and targeted enforcement is focused on eliminating major drug threats and associated violence stemming from drug and weapons trafficking networks. I applaud the diligent and courageous work of our law enforcement partners in the New York and Washington DC area throughout this investigation and arrests.”
Peña Camilo was charged with criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree, criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree, criminal possession of a firearm in the first degree and two counts of criminal possession of a firearm in the second degree.
José Gregorio Olivo Feliz was charged with two counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree, one count of criminal sale of a firearm in the second degree, three counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree, a count of criminal possession of a weapon in the first degree, two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.
Pedro Junior Olivo Feliz was charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, Criminal Possession of a Firearm in the Third Degree and two charges of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree.
Additionally, Lora Espinal was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the First Degree.
“The proliferation of illegal firearms, such as ghost guns, coming into New York from out of state is a serious threat to the safety and security of our community,” said Westchester County District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah.
“I am grateful to the Yonkers Police Department and the many state, local and federal partners who conducted this investigation and who work with us every day to clear our streets of illegal guns. As promised, I will use the full force of my office to prosecute weapons crimes and arms traffickers,” he added.
All suspects are currently in custody and awaiting further court appearances. The case is being prosecuted by the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau.