Aug. 29, 2023 By Bill Parry
The co-defendants were arrested last week after law enforcement agencies executed search warrants at their homes and other locations, where they found a dozen illegal firearms, including ghost guns, as well as high-capacity magazines, ammo and ghost gun manufacturing tools, according to Katz.
Christopher Lall, 32, of Hillside Avenue, was arraigned on Aug. 24 in Queens Criminal Court on a 57-count complaint charging him with 14 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, 18 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, seven counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, six counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree, six counts of criminal possession of a firearm and six counts of criminal possession of ammunition.
Steve Salamalay, 30, of 89th Avenue, was arraigned on Aug. 23 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Anthony Battisti on a 40-count complaint charging him with seven counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, 15 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, six counts of criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree, eight counts of criminal possession of a firearm, three counts of criminal possession of ammunition, and failure to obtain firearms certificates of registration.
According to the charges, members of the Queens District Attorney’s office conducted a long-term investigation into the defendants’ purchase of polymer-based, unserialized firearm components, which are easily assembled into operable firearms without serial numbers, making the weapons, commonly referred to as ghost guns, untraceable. On Aug. 23, officers from the New York Police Department’s Emergency Services Unit and Major Case Field Intelligence Team and the Queens District Attorney’s Detective Bureau executed a court-authorized search warrant of Lall’s residence and storage unit, both located on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica, as well as Salamalay’s home in Queens and his workplace in Manhattan.
During the raids, law enforcement recovered a loaded 9mm semiautomatic ghost gun, two P80 Glock-style 9mm ghost guns, a loaded .38 Special revolver and other illegal firearms including a double barrel 12-gauge shotgun. A check conducted on the License and Permit Systems revealed that neither Lall nor Salamalay hold licenses to possess or own firearms in New York City.
“Illegal firearms cause unspeakable tragedies in our communities,” Katz said. “I have prioritized taking guns off the street and will continue to fight the sale and increased manufacture of deadly weapons in Queens. Thanks to the work of my Crime Strategies & Intelligence Bureau, the seized weapons and manufacturing tools can no longer be used to inflict damage. I will continue to be relentless in my pursuit of those who bring guns into this borough.”
Queens Criminal Court Judge Stephanie Zaro ordered Lall and Salamalay to return to court on Sept. 19. If convicted they face up to 15 years in prison.
Including this latest takedown, 86 ghost guns have been seized in Queens this year, more than in any other borough. The Queens District Attorney’s Office’s successful investigations and prosecution of numerous ghost gun manufacturers and traffickers have resulted in Queens leading all of New York City in the total number of ghost gun recoveries since 2021. In 2022, Queens led the boroughs with 174, or 40%, of the 436 ghost guns recovered citywide. From 2021 to 2022, total ghost gun recoveries were up 66% citywide. For 2022, ghost guns comprised 12% of all guns recovered citywide, compared to 4% in 2021, and 3% in 2020, according to the DA’s office.