D.A. Bragg, D.A. Gonzalez And NYPD Announce Takedown of Ghost Gun Arsenal

May 25, 2022

Rene Loyola Shipped High-Capacity Magazines to Pennsylvania in Attempt to Circumvent New York’s Strict Gun Laws

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Department Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced the indictment of RENE LOYOLA, 25, for illegally purchasing and possessing a $20,000 arsenal of ghost gun parts, including more than 30 frames and receivers, nearly 300 high-capacity magazines, and related gear from online retailers.

Between March 2020 to March 2022, LOYOLA purchased the gun parts and high-capacity magazines from 12 different online retailers. The process of buying ghost gun parts from different retailers has been dubbed the “polymer pipeline.” The magazines recovered could collectively hold more than 8,600 bullets. LOYOLA sent multiple shipments of high-capacity magazines to an address in Pennsylvania because New York’s SAFE Act prohibited them for being sent directly to the state, and on one day traveled to the shipment location on the same date as the delivery.

On May 6, 2022, a New York County grand jury indicted LOYOLA for 235 counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree and 29 counts of Prohibition on Unfinished Frames or Receivers. On May 12, 2022, a Kings County grand jury indicted LOYOLA for one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree; four counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree; one count of Criminal Possession of a Firearm; one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree; one count of Unlawful Possession of Pistol Ammunition; 16 counts of Prohibition on Unfinished Frames or Receivers; and one count of Criminal Possession of a Rapid-Fire Modification Device. [1]

“It is far too easy for anyone to buy the components needed to assemble a ghost gun. In just a few clicks, gun frames, receivers and high-capacity magazines can be delivered through the mail. While changing technology has enabled the rise of ghost guns, this case also illustrates how the iron pipeline contributes to the gun violence epidemic – New York’s strict laws initially kept these magazines out of our state, but Rene Loyola eventually took advantage of lax regulations elsewhere,” said District Attorney Bragg. We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to find and prosecute those who are in possession of these illegal weapons.”

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This defendant allegedly acquired a massive arsenal of gun parts that could easily have ended up as illegal ghost guns on the streets of our communities. Recovering these receivers, frames and magazines is important as we continue to fight to curtail the gun violence plaguing our city. I thank D.A. Bragg and the NYPD for their collaboration.”

“Our work in this case shows, once again, that the NYPD and its law enforcement partners will never stop doing their part to fight against the proliferation of illegal ghost guns that are flowing into our city in increasing numbers,” said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “These guns shoot real bullets. They threaten New Yorkers and our way of life. But our intelligence-driven focus on interrupting the supply chains for these guns and component parts is intensifying thanks to our strong partnerships. The NYPD, our Intelligence Bureau Major Case team, and the offices of the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys and their prosecutors remain relentless in pursuing these important investigations and ensuring safety for all.”

On April 20, 2022, the NYPD executed search warrants at Loyola’s residence in Brooklyn and storage facility unit in Manhattan and uncovered the weapons and gear. Rapid-fire modification devices and other power tools were also recovered.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the NYPD and other law enforcement partners, established the Ghost Guns Initiative in 2020 to address the proliferation of ghost guns in New York City.  To date, the Ghost Guns Initiative has prosecuted cases involving the seizure of over 70 ghost gun parts, 20 fully assembled ghost guns, 23 serialized firearms, 412 high-capacity magazines, 45 silencers, and other gear including scopes and rapid-fire modification devices.

Assistant D.A. Bonnie Seok of the Rackets Bureau, overseeing the Ghost Gun Initiative, handled the prosecution of this case, under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s David Stuart (Counterterrorism Program Coordinator), Mike Ohm (Rackets Bureau Deputy Chief), Judy Salwen (Rackets Bureau Principal Deputy Chief), Jodie Kane (Rackets Bureau Chief), and Executive Assistant D.A. Susan Hoffinger (Investigation Division Chief). 

The following members of the D.A.’s Office also assisted with the case: former Assistant D.A. Eun-Ha Kim, Ryan Rittenberg (Counterterrorism Program Supervisor), Trial Preparation Assistants Tyler Lopez and Teva Vogelstein, Steven Moran (High Technology Analysis Unit Director), David Chan (High Technology Analysis Unit Deputy Director), Senior Analyst Boris Vestfrid, and Annie Ostrovskiy (Digital Evidence Specialist).

D.A. Bragg thanked the following members of the NYPD’s Major Case Field Intelligence Team: Detective Michael Billotto, Detective Victor Cardona, Detective John Shultz, Detective Christopher Thomas, and Detective John Uske, under the supervision of Sergeant Bogdan Tabor, Sergeant Jose Rodriguez, Captain Christian Jara, and Inspector Courtney Nilan.

D.A. Bragg also thanked Assistant D.A.s Michael O’Rourke, Kathryn Spota (Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau Deputy Chief), Jennifer Cilia (Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau First Deputy Chief), and Alfred Deingenius (Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau Chief) of the Brooklyn D.A.’s Office.

Defendant Information:
Brooklyn, NY


  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, 235 counts
  • Prohibition on Unfinished Frames or Receivers, 29 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, one count
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree, four counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Firearm, one count
  • Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, one count
  • Unlawful Possession of Pistol Ammunition, one count
  • Prohibition on Unfinished Frames or Receivers, 16 counts
  • Criminal Possession of a Rapid-Fire Modification Device, one count


[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.