Ghost Gun Investigation Leads to Raid in Upper East Side Luxury Building

A “ghost gun” team of the New York Police Department raided a luxury co-op on the Upper East Side on Wednesday, seizing gun parts, drug-related materials and pressure cookers and chemicals that could be used to make explosives, the authorities said.

They also arrested an occupant of the apartment, Christopher Fox, 30, on a litany of drug and weapons charges, including the manufacture of a machine gun, the police said.

The details of the haul would alarm any neighborhood, and Yorkville is one of the more desirable ones in Manhattan. But the story was amped up in the city tabloids by the news that Mr. Fox was a younger brother of the actress and model Julia Fox. She once described her brother in an interview as a “mad scientist recluse” who built 3-D printers “for fun,” a description highlighted in a Daily News headline.

Headlines aside, Ms. Fox, 33, had no known connection with the raid, although she grew up in Yorkville and apparently once lived at the address. A fashion model and breakout star of the 2019 film “Uncut Gems,” she has been a fixture in the downtown social scene, where — among other things — she became linked in the popular imagination with the phrase “goblin mode,” after her brief relationship and breakup with Kanye West. Reached by phone on Thursday, Ms. Fox declined to comment.

The police said Mr. Fox’s arrest was related to a “long-term investigation” into narcotics and ghost guns, adding that while a full investigation was ongoing, they believed the matter has “no apparent nexus to terrorism.”

Ghost guns, which can be assembled piecemeal with a drill from parts purchased online or made with a 3-D printer, are homemade, unregistered firearms that lack serial numbers and do not require background checks to build.

Police officers executed a search warrant for an apartment at 200 East 84th Street on Wednesday morning. The co-op building in the heart of Yorkville, east of Park Avenue, advertises a roof terrace with panoramic views. Two-bedroom apartments there have sold for around $1.8 million, according to real estate records.

The police declined to comment on whether Mr. Fox was still in custody. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney’s office would not give details about the schedule for his arraignment.

Mr. Fox faces multiple charges, including criminal possession of a firearm. A second individual was taken into custody on Wednesday but was not arrested, the police said. Multiple news outlets have reported that was the Foxes’ father, but the police would not confirm this.

New York Police Department data shows a steady rise in the number of ghost guns seized by officers in recent years: 263 in 2021 and 463 last year, an increase of more than 76 percent. A police spokesperson said that the department has already recovered 36 ghost guns in the first two months of this year.

In a news release, the department emphasized that it would “continue to fight relentlessly” against illegal guns, including “increasingly prevalent” ghost guns, which it described as “illegal, untraceable but fully functioning weapons.”

In June 2022, state and city officials filed two lawsuits seeking to halt the proliferation of ghost guns under a state law intended to hold the gun industry accountable for shootings. The suits said that the unchecked illegal sales of gun parts contributed to a troubling gun violence crisis across the state.

On Thursday, Attorney General Letitia James announced she had secured a court order immediately halting 10 national gun distributors from selling and shipping “key components” of ghost guns to buyers in New York.

One of the named defendants, Brownells Inc., sells a build kit for an AR-15, the powerful military-style rifle used in multiple mass shootings in the United States, including attacks on schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., and Parkland, Fla.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-violence prevention organization, such guns can be built in under an hour with just a few tools.

“Ghost guns and easy-to-assemble ghost gun kits have caused violence and devastation throughout our state,” Ms. James said, pledging that her office would continue to enforce “our common sense gun laws.”

Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

Source: Read Full Article