Crime and Safety

Untraceable ‘ghost guns’ hit NYC streets in record numbers

The number of ghost guns recovered in New York City this year has surged 75 percent compared to last — shattering all previous records and accounting for nearly half of all untraceable firearms confiscated in the state, data reviewed by The Post has found.

So far, there have been 356 ghost guns seized by the NYPD — 150 more than were recovered at this time last year. In 2018 the NYPD confiscated just 17 ghost guns.

The untraceable guns — which don’t have serial numbers and are often either 3-D printed or shipped in parts that require assembly — have been used in at least two murders so far this year.

Yanel Henriquez never heard of a ghost gun until April 8, when her 16-year-old daughter Angellyh Yambo was killed by a stray bullet fired from one as she walked down East 156th Street in the South Bronx.

“I only found out about ghost guns when my daughter got killed,” said Henriquez. “We have to be familiar with the things that are killing our kids. The fact that we didn’t know and just found out because somebody was killed is embarrassing. They need to do something about it.

“My child wasn’t a gang member, my child wasn’t a bad girl, none of that,” Henriquez added. “Our kids go to school and we walk in the street and go to work, but now we don’t even know if they’re going to return.”

Yambo was killed as she walked down East 156th Street in the South Bronx.
Yanely Henriquez’s daughter Angellyh Yambo was killed by a stray bullet shot from a ghost gun on April 8.

Jeremiah Ryan, 17, was arrested and charged with murder for allegedly pulling the trigger, which witnesses said he did during a squabble with about four others.

Less than a month later, 31-year-old David Scott was killed by a ghost gun inside a smoke shop in the Bronx on May 2.

The NYPD — which doesn’t track ghost gun-specific slayings — arrested Edison Cruz, 25, for allegedly killing Scott and shooting two others and charged him with murder.

Cruz, who had been arrested the prior year for felony gun possession, was barred from legally owning a firearm due to his criminal history.

Four of the companies reportedly agreed to stop.
The city filed federal lawsuits on June 29 against five online ghost gun sellers.
William Farrington

In response to the influx of untraceable guns, the city filed federal lawsuits on June 29 against five online ghost gun sellers, four of which have come to agreements with the city to stop their “unlawful behavior,” City Hall spokesman Jonah Allon said.

“Since taking office, Mayor Adams has taken aggressive action to curb the flow of ghost guns into our city, and dam this river feeding the sea of violence,” Allon said, adding that the NYPD has seized over 6,400 illegal guns this year, which includes ghost guns.

The problem is statewide, where there has been a 40% increase in ghost guns recovered — 730 recovered so far this year, compared to 528 in the same period in 2021 — according to the New York State Police, which called ghost guns “one of the fastest growing public safety problems.”

“They are attractive to criminals because they can be assembled in a matter of hours and are virtually untraceable” New York State Police spokesman Beau Duffy said.

Last October, Gov. Hochul signed legislation making it illegal to sell or possess a ghost gun. The legislation also criminalized the possession of unfinished gun parts that could be turned into a functional firearm.

“We remain focused on working with our law enforcement partners to prevent the illegal trafficking of these guns into New York,” Duffy said.

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