March 3, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Four Queens residents have been arrested for storing an arsenal of illegal unmarked guns, ammo and gun-making equipment at their homes in Flushing and Bayside – in what prosecutors say is the sixth such weapons bust in the borough since August.
Andrew Chang, 34, Kai Zhao, 45, Michael Frankenfeld, 55, and Seongwoo Chung, 35, were arraigned in Queens Criminal Court Wednesday on a slew of weapons charges and other crimes for stockpiling more than 30 illegal weapons and thousands of rounds of ammo, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Police and Queens DA detectives carried out a series of raids Tuesday morning as part of an ongoing investigation into suspects purchasing polymer-based firearm components, gun parts that do not include serial numbers. The gun parts can easily be assembled into firearms, known as “ghost guns,” which are untraceable and can circumvent background checks, prosecutors said.
“We must stop the illegal production of dangerous firearms that is happening in homes throughout our neighborhoods,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said. “We will continue to pursue those who bring these illegal, deadly weapons into our communities.”
Investigators raided two Bayside residences Tuesday belonging to Chang. They also searched Chung’s apartment in Flushing as well as Zhao and Frankenfeld’s home which they share in Flushing.
Police seized 33 firearms, 27 of which had no serial numbers and are considered ghost guns. Among the ghost guns were 22 semi-automatic pistols, 4 assault weapons and 1 assault shotgun, prosecutors said.
Also confiscated were 78 large capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, 16 complete polymer-based lower receivers and approximately 10,000 rounds of ammunition of various calibers. Silencers, holographic sights, bulletproof vests and a nighttime laser targeting system were also seized by investigators.
More than $50,000 cash was also recovered, prosecutors said.
All four defendants do not have licenses to own or possess firearms in New York City, Katz said.
They were hit with charges such as criminal possession of weapons, criminal sale of a firearm and possession of unfinished frames or receivers.
Frankenfeld and Zhao face up to 25 years in prison while Chang and Chung face could get up to 15 years behind bars if convicted.
All four defendants were ordered back to court on March 4.
Prosecutors say they have carried out five similar weapons busts in Queens since August, resulting in 10 other defendants being charged.
In total, police have seized 107 firearms — including 78 ghost guns –, 300 high-capacity magazines, 107 firearm lower receivers, 4 rapid-fire modification devices and around 45,000 rounds of ammunition during the raids.