Two Arrested and Illegal Firearms and Parts Seized

NANUET – Rockland County District Attorney Thomas E. Walsh II announced that two individuals have been arrested following an ongoing investigation into illegal firearms in Rockland County.

In May of 2024, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office received information regarding an illegal firearm component being shipped to Nanuet, NY. The Rockland County District Attorney’s Office Special Investigations Unit Detectives, who are cross sworn as Federal Task Force Officers with the United States Department of Homeland Security, immediately launched an investigation into the intended recipients of this item. Working in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the United States Postal Inspection Service and the US Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York, it was discovered that numerous illegal firearm parts had been shipped to a home in Nanuet, NY.

It was also discovered that Vivian Wu and Tao Zhang, who was previously convicted of a felony in 2015 reside at the residence.

On July 2, 2024, a search warrant was executed by the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations on a home in Nanuet with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Response Team, United States Postal Inspections Services, Clarkstown Police Department, New York State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. As a result of the search warrant, two loaded and un-serialized semi-automatic handguns, three high-capacity magazines, five major components of a firearm, and a large quantity of un-serialized ghost gun parts were found. The firearms were not safely locked away and were within easy reach of two children, ages 7 and 9 who live in the home. The following individuals were arrested:

• Tao Zhang, 35 of Nanuet, NY has been charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree all in relation to two semi-automatic 9mm pistols, three counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (based on three high capacity magazines: two Glock style 9mm mags with 31 capacity, and one AR-15 style 5.56/.223 caliber magazine with 30 capacity), five counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree for possessing major components of a firearm, Sixty-five counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree for un-serialized ghost gun parts, and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

• Vivian Wu, 35, of Nanuet NY has been charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree all in relation to two semi-automatic 9mm pistols, three counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (based on three high capacity magazines: two Glock style 9mm mags with 31 capacity, and one AR-15 style 5.56/.223 caliber magazine with 30 capacity), Sixty-five counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree for un-serialized ghost gun parts, and two counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

District Attorney Thomas E. Walsh II said, “This investigation is a significant step in our ongoing efforts to combat illegal firearms in Rockland County. Working with our law enforcement partners on the federal level, a search warrant was executed that led to the discovery of firearms and a large quantity of parts to build firearms. The arrest of two individuals underscores the focus of my Office to keep the community safe from gun violence and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local level to ensure that illegal firearms are removed from our streets and that those who possess them are held accountable. I commend Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, US Attorney’s Office Southern District of NY, New York State Police, ATF, Customs and Border Protection, and the Clarkstown PD for their assistance in this investigation. “

“This successful operation exemplifies the power of collaboration between Homeland Security Investigations Hudson Valley and the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office. Together, with support from the ATF, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the New York State Police, our efforts resulted in the apprehension of these individuals, one with a prior felony conviction, who was receiving shipments of gun parts to allegedly build his
own ghost guns,” said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo. “This operation sends a message that illegal firearms activities will be met with the full force of our combined resources and expertise.”

The following agencies were involved with the investigation: Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, United State Postal Inspection Service, US Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York, New York State Police, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), Customs and Border Protection, and the Clarkstown Police Department.

Tao Zhang and Vivian Wu were both remanded to the Rockland County Jail on $50,000 cash bail, $100,000 bond and $200,000 partially secured bond in the Town of Clarkstown before the Honorable Leslie Kahn.

Supervising Assistant District Attorney Michael Peterson and Assistant District Attorney Eleanor Reilly are prosecuting the case.

It should be noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation, and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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