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Astoria brothers indicted following seizure of explosive devices and ghost guns: DA

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz secured an indictment against two Astoria brothers who had an arsenal of ghost guns and improvised explosive devices in their apartment across from the Ravenswood Generating Station. Photo courtesy of the DA’s Office

Jan. 29, 2024 By Bill Parry

Two Astoria brothers were criminally charged Monday after an arsenal of improvised explosive devices and ghost guns, including assault rifles, were found inside their apartment directly across Vernon Boulevard from the Ravenswood Generating Station.

The cache of IEDs and ghost guns was discovered in an apartment across Vernon Boulevard from Big Allis earlier this month. Photo by Michael Dorgan

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced that Andre and Angelo Hatziagelis were indicted Monday on 130 counts of criminal possession of a weapon and related charges after a Jan. 17 raid on the apartment they share with their mother and another brother at the intersection of 36th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard across from Big Allis, the name locals use for the massive Con Ed power plant on the East River.

Homemade IEDs including one with a trip wire were recovered in the raid. Photo courtesy of the DA’s Office

Law enforcement also recovered instructions for making a variety of bombs, anarchist propaganda and a hit list with “cops, judges, politicians, celebrities” and “banker scum” scrawled on it.

A crude hit list was found among anarchist propaganda. Photo courtesy of the DA’s Office

Both Andrew, 39, and Angelos, 51, were remanded into custody, and their arraignment is pending.
“The city is safer today,” Katz said. “My Crime Strategies and Intelligence Bureau launched investigations every day so that we find illegal weapons, including guns and in this case explosive devices. We cannot measure the number of lives that were saved, but we do know that these weapons will never hurt anyone.”

Katz added that her office executed the court-authorized search along with the NYPD, Homeland Security and New York State Police and recovered eight fully operable bombs, several guns and numerous other weapons. According to the charges, based on prior intelligence, investigators the DA’s office launched a six-month probe into the purchase of firearm component parts, accessories, and the manufacture of illegal ghost guns by the Hatziagelis brothers.

The apartment building was evacuated several times as the NYPD Bomb Squad found more IEDs during the Jan. 17 raid. QNS/File photo

Detectives from the NYPD were brought into the investigation to assist in the collection of additional data and a search warrant was secured.

On Jan. 17, law enforcement officials executed the search warrant on their residence resulting in their arrests and the seizure of eight IEDs, including one constructed with a trip-wire, two loaded AR-15 ghost gun assault weapons and other ghost guns, 600 rounds of ammo, three sets of body armor, 29 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, numerous notebooks containing instructions on the manufacture of explosive devices and anarchist related propaganda. Investigators also discovered a radio set to the frequency of the 114th Precinct in Astoria.

“Today’s charges underscore the harsh reality that our communities contain a small number of people who conceivably harbor evil intent,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said. “This cache of weapons — including explosives and untraceable, 3D-printed ghost guns — had the potential to wreak horrendous carnage.”

Upon the execution of the search warrant on the brother’s apartment, members of the NYPD Bomb Squad were called to respond and subsequently evacuated the building due to the discovery of the live IEDs.

“Along with our NYPD investigators, I thank all of our local, state and federal law enforcement partners for their persistence in identifying, investigating, and holding accountable anyone who poses a risk to New Yorker’s safety and well-being,” Caban said.

The Hatziagelis brothers await arraignment on the 130-count indictment charging them with a slew of weapons possession charges, reckless endangerment, criminal sale of a firearm, 15 counts of make/transport, dispose/deface weapons, three counts of unlawful purchase of body armor and other crimes. Their next court date is Feb. 15. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison.

“In this case, the collaboration among various law enforcement agencies led to the discovery that most certainly could have saved lives,” Homeland Security Investigations New York Acting Special Agent in Charge Erin Keegan said. “I thank the members of the HSI Border Enforcement security Task Force and the Queens District Attorney’s Office, along with the NYPD, ATF and the New York State Police for their outstanding efforts to resolve a potentially dangerous situation.”

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