(WBNG Binghamton) New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman on Friday announced the arrest of 32-year-old Benjamin M. Wassell for selling illegal semiautomatic assault weapons to an undercover NYS Police Investigator on two separate occasions.
According to a news release from Schneiderman's office:
The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the Attorney General's Office and the New York State Police. If convicted, Wassell faces a potential sentence of up to 7 years incarceration.
According to the criminal complaint filed against him in the Town of Hanover Court, Chautauqua County, Wassell allegedly arranged to sell an illegal DelTon DTI-15 assault rifle to an undercover NYS Police investigator in January 2013. Because the rifle was outfitted with additional features including a pistol grip, a telescoping butt stock, and a bayonet mount, it is classified as an illegal assault weapon under the Penal Law. The criminal sale of an illegal weapon is a class D felony.
"By selling these illegal firearms, Mr. Wassell’s actions had potentially dangerous consequences for New Yorkers," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "We have seen far too much gun violence in our state in recent months and the sale of illegal semiautomatic weapons will not go unpunished. I commend the work of investigators in this case who helped send a message that these types of illegal gun sales will not be tolerated."
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico said, "The defendant is accused of illegally selling assault weapons not once, but twice. Add to that, he was willing to sell to someone without knowing anything about their background and it's exactly the type of dangerous and illegal activity that can lead to more gun violence in our communities. Once again our partnership with the Attorney General's office has resulted in taking a dangerous criminal off the streets."
The complaint also alleges that in February 2013, Wassell sold an Armalite AR-10 Magnum Semiautomatic Rifle to the NYS Police undercover investigator, in violation of the newly enacted New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 which made illegal the Transfer, Sale, Exchange and Disposal of an Assault Weapon to a Person Unauthorized to Possess such a Weapon. The violation of the SAFE Act is a class A Misdemeanor.