Over 100 Firearms Seized Following
Ghost Gun Investigation
More than 100 weapons were seized and 11 persons were arrested recently following a six-month multi-agency investigation into “ghost guns” and other illegal firearms in Westchester and Putnam Counties.
Search warrants were executed Tuesday at eight locations in Westchester and Putnam by investigators from County, local and federal law enforcement agencies. Rifles, handguns, “ghost guns” and high-capacity drum magazines were seized. Some of the weapons lacked a serial number – making them so-called ghost guns – and other weapons had defaced serial numbers.
Several silencers, ballistic vests, counterfeit police shields and quantities of ammunition were also seized in the probe, dubbed Operation Casper by investigators. The high-capacity drum magazines that were seized are of a similar type to the one used in the murders of two New York City police officers last week.
“As we prepare to pay our final respects to Officer Jason Rivera tomorrow and his partner Officer Wilbert Mora next week, we are reminded of the dangers of illegal guns, not just in New York City,” County Executive George Latimer said. “This proactive, collaborative effort brings together law enforcement and prosecutorial leaders beyond Westchester to combat the distribution and purchase of illegal guns. It is our moral responsibility to work together to reduce the availability of these weapons and keep our communities safe.”
Public Safety Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason thanked all the agencies with personnel assigned to the Real Time Crime center for their roles in the successsful investigation.
“Working collaboratively with our law enforcement partners is a critical way we keep Westchester safe,” Gleason said.
The investigation was launched in June 2021 when police departments in Westchester, along with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, created a task force to address an influx of ghost guns and other illegal firearms into the Westchester County region. Detectives in the multi-agency Real Time Crime Center (RTC) were tasked with finding innovative ways to reduce gun crimes and prevent violence.
These detectives were assisted by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, New York City Police Department, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the Rockland County DA’s office. Prosecutors from Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and the Southern District of New York provided guidance and case support as specific targets and locations were identified.
The following is a list of the local persons arrested and the agency lodging the charges, which are felonies:
New Rochelle PD
Juan Sanchez, 28, of 81 Highland Avenue, New Rochelle
– 3 Counts Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd Degree- Loaded Firearm
– 3 Counts Criminal Possession of a Weapon 2nd Degree – Disguised Gun
– Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd Degree
– 40 Counts Unlawful Possession Ammo Feed Device
– 4 Counts Criminal Possession Weapon 3rd Degree- Silencer
John Pittelli, 35, of 242 Freemont Street, Harrison.
– Criminal Possession of a Weapon 3rd Degree- Ammo
– Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 4th Degree- Hallucinogen
Westchester County PD
Christopher Canzone, 49, of 1700 Baptist Church Road, Yorktown
– Criminal Possession of a Weapon 1st Degree- 10 or more Firearms