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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Queens Chronicle-Forest Hills Immigrant Charged With Dealing Illegal Firearms

Queens Chronicle-Central Edition
A Forest Hills man has been charged with selling dozens of illegal firearms to undercover police officers in Queens and the Bronx, law enforcement officials said.
Serguei Volochenko, 48, an immigrant from Kazakhstan, was the subject of a year-long investigation by the NYPD and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement coined “Red Dawn.”

Authorities said that for about a year, undercover detectives—posing as members of organized crime—met with Volochenko, claiming they needed guns to commit a series of upcoming murders.
The cops immediately purchased two weapons and over the course of the investigation, bought a total of 31 handguns, two shotguns, two rifles and two machine pistols.
Volochenko also allegedly boasted that he could supply miliary-style weapons, including Uzi’s and AK-47s. In addition, he discussed obtaining silencers for various types of weapons, which could be smuggled into the country concealed inside computers.
During frequent meetings and conversations with detectives, Volochenko explained that he had been trained as a member of the Russian military and that he was a skilled marksman and an expert in firearms, police said.
During one heated exchange over money, Volochenko, who was always armed, allegedly pulled out his gun, but the detective was able to calm him down and diffuse the situation.
In another meeting, authorities said he offered his services as a hitman, but told the detective that, “It will cost you.” He also offered the use of his boat to dispose of murder victims, authorities claim.
In order to display his proficiency with guns, during one meeting Volochenko allegedly shot a styrofoam cup from about 10 yards away on his first shot. During another rendezvous, he explained the procedure for disabling a live grenade.
“This individual is responsible for a continuous flow of guns into the city and onto our streets,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “He boasted of his own proficiency with weapons and violence. Volochenko had the ability and the willingness to inflict injury and he was the first stop in a variety of other potential crimes.”
Volochenko was arrested last Tuesday outside his apartment on 64th Road by officers from the Bronx Narcotics Bureau. Authorities said he was on his way to selling more guns to the undercover detective when he was nabbed by police.
Inside his knapsack, authorities found five semi-automatic pistols—two of which were loaded—and 23 loose rounds of 9 mm ammunition. Detectives also recovered a .22-caliber pistol and approximately 1,300 rounds of ammunition inside his apartment.
“We took more than 40 very dangerous weapons off the street and disrupted a pipeline of criminal activity,” said Martin Ficke, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “This is another case of ICE’s commitment to making our communities safer and our homeland more secure.”
Volochenko was arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court on June 22nd and charged with weapons trafficking. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The investigation is continuing and additional arrests are expected.

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