May. 11, 2023 By Bill Parry
A Flushing man is facing up to a decade and a half in prison after he was criminally charged with possessing an arsenal of illegal weapons, including ghost guns, assault rifles, and a stockpile of ammunition, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced on May 11.
Zhili Song, 30, of Laburnum Avenue, was arraigned Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Jeffrey Gershuny on a slew of charges after a search warrant executed at his basement apartment in his parent’s home uncovered a cache of firearms.
Song was arraigned and charged with nine counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, nine counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, five counts of criminal possession of a firearm, four counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, three counts of making/transporting/disposing/defacing weapons and dangerous instruments, unlawful purchase of body armor, attempted criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and seven counts of firearms – certificates of registration.
According to the charges, members of the Queens District Attorney’s office conducted a long-term investigation into the purchase of polymer-based, unserialized firearm components by Song. These components are easily assembled into operable firearms without serial numbers—commonly referred to as ghost guns —that enable users to skirt background checks.
On May 9, officers from the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit and Major Case Field Intelligence Team, along with the Queens District Attorney’s Detective Bureau, obtained and executed a court-authorized search warrant of Song’s apartment and seized two 5.56 caliber AR-15 assault rifles with detachable magazines and threaded barrels and one fully assembled 9 mm semiautomatic ghost gun assault pistol with the ability to accept a detachable magazine and with a muzzle compensator, which reduces recoil when firing.
Also recovered were two more fully assembled 9 mm semiautomatic ghost gun pistols, one semiautomatic rifle with a fixed magazine, one semi automatic .308 caliber M1 Garand rifle, two bolt-action rifles and one disassembled 9 mm ghost gun.
Several of the recovered firearms were accompanied by sophisticated and often expensive accessories for more precise shooting, including holographic sights — which allow a shooter to quickly acquire a target — and lights and laser targeting systems affixed to the frames of several of the firearms to illuminate a target in the dark. There was also a tactical load-bearing vest with bullet-proof plates and the ability to hold magazines and other accessories.
Investigators also recovered five large-capacity ammunition feeding devices from Song’s apartment along with a silencer, ammunition for all of the seized weapons, and multiple rounds of .50 caliber and 7.62 caliber ammunition.
They also recovered some of the tools of the trade including one 3-D printer and 3-D printer filament, a handheld drill and other instruments used to make or assemble ghostguns and government-issued identification bearing his name. A check of the License and Permit Systems database revealed that Song does not hold a license to possess or own firearms in New York City.
“The arsenal of lethal illegal weapons and ammunition seized in this defendant’s home because of our investigation could have done untold damage,” Katz said. “We will not let up in our efforts to get deadly weapons off the streets of Queens.”
She added that since its creation 18 months ago, the Crime Strategies and Intelligence Unit has launched 23 ghost gun investigations leading to 26 defendants being charged and the recovery of 241 firearms and more than 111,000 rounds of ammunition.
Judge Gershuny ordered Song remanded. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.