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May 24, 2018New York, NY, United StatesNarcotics

Bronx man charged following NY BEST investigation

NEW YORK — A Bronx man was arrested yesterday after investigation initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York’s Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST). The investigation, worked by taskforce members from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), led to the arrest of Richard Laugel following a city wide manhunt, who is now charged with firearms and narcotics offenses.

“It is important to note the collaborative efforts that went into locating and apprehending this individual. And from what was found during this investigation, he appears to be a threat to public safety and someone we don’t want on the streets,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI New York. “This collaboration, brought together by HSI’s Border Enforcement Security Taskforce, is paramount to finding the criminals who bring in goods from abroad to support their criminal activity in our local communities.”

“As alleged, Richard Laugel had accumulated an arsenal of dangerous weapons in his Bronx apartment, including a grenade launcher and an assault rifle. Thankfully, the local and federal law enforcement officers were able to arrest Laugel without incident, and his trove of dangerous weapons has been seized,” said the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman.

As alleged in the complaint, on May 22, 2018, HSI and the NYPD executed a search warrant at Laugel’s home in the Bronx in connection with an alleged illegal operation to distribute controlled substances. During the search, law enforcement officers recovered from Laugel’s home and garage, among other items, firearms silencers, a grenade launcher, an AR-15 Rifle, three handguns, two of which had defaced serial numbers, plastic molds used to make the lower receiver of handguns, firearms barrels, drill press and milling machines, ammunition, and a teddy bear that contained approximately 30 grams of cocaine.

Laugel is charged with the unlawful possession of firearms silencers, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; possession with intent to distribute narcotics, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; and the unlawful possession of firearms with defaced serial numbers, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

This case is being handled by SDNY’s Narcotics Unit. The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.