Urban Violent Crime Task Force seizes three-dozen illegal firearms, including machine guns, ghost guns, silencers, large-capacity magazines, and thousands of rounds of ammunition
An indictment, information, or complaint is merely an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
PROVIDENCE, RI – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety Steven Paré, and Providence Police Chief Hugh T. Clements, Jr., announced today that the Statewide Grand Jury has returned indictments charging a West Warwick couple with multiple felony counts stemming from a joint investigation into alleged firearms trafficking and ghost gun manufacturing.
Russell Gravier (age 41) has been charged with two counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, one count of possession of a ghost gun, one count of possession of a machine gun, one count of possession of a silencer, one count of possession of a binary trigger, one count of alteration of marks of identification on a firearm, and one count of carrying a pistol without a license.
Christina Federici (age 37) has been charged with one count of providing false information in securing a firearm, one count of straw purchasing a firearm, one count of illegal sale of a concealable weapon without proper paperwork, one count of sale of a firearm to a prohibited person, and one count of failure to be licensed as a firearms dealer.
It is alleged that on July 20, 2022, Urban Violent Crime Task Force investigators arrested the defendants following the execution of search warrants at several locations in West Warwick where they seized 37 firearms, including three fully automatic machine guns, five ghost guns, 23 ghost gun kits, and one pistol with an obliterated serial number; 16 silencers and suppressors; two binary triggers, which convert semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic weapons; various firearm components; tools to manufacture firearms; approximately 223 assorted magazines, including multiple high capacity drum magazines; three body armor vests; assorted holsters and tactical gear; and hundreds of rounds of various calibers of ammunition.
Investigators from the Providence Police Department’s Intelligence and Organized Crime Bureau initiated the investigation with detectives assigned to the Attorney General’s Violent Crime Task Force into suspected firearms trafficking and ghost gun manufacturing by the defendants. The investigation was assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the Coventry and West Warwick Police Departments.
The investigation stems from a previous Task Force investigation that recently led to the arrest of three individuals in Central Falls and Providence where multiple firearms, large-capacity magazines, cell phones, and various quantities of illegal narcotics were seized.
“Our Urban Violent Crime Initiative continues to deliver results for Rhode Islanders and their safety. As alleged in the indictment, this case has it all: dozens of ghost guns kits purchased on- line without the necessity of a background check and easily completed at home, fully automatic weapons, silencers, high-capacity magazines, and the straw purchasing of firearms. As alleged, the weapons recovered here were headed to only one place, our neighborhoods, in the hands of criminals fully prepared to commit acts of violence,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am grateful for the teamwork in this case – we are more effective when working together in this task force environment. I am particularly grateful to the Providence Police investigators and task force members for tracking the down the leads that led to the charges, and for the detectives from all of the other involved departments for their continued outstanding work in this and many other cases.”
“The men and women of the Providence Police Department remain committed in their continued efforts to prevent violent crime, particularly those involving a firearm, within our community,” said Steven M. Paré, Providence Commissioner of Public Safety. “Our department will utilize every resource necessary to help keep our streets safe. I commend the work of the Providence Police Department and the partnership Office of the Attorney General in this case.”
“Today’s announcement should send a strong message to those involved in the sale and production of illegal firearms – law enforcement officials will exhaust every avenue in their pursuit of justice,” said Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr. “Through the partnership between the Providence Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General’s Urban Violent Crime Task Force, police were able to swiftly execute this complex investigation, and I praise their efforts.”
On the morning of July 20, 2022, Task Force investigators and members of the Regional SWAT Team executed multiple search warrants at locations on Harris Avenue and Cowesett Avenue in West Warwick, seizing an array of firearms, ghost gun kits, magazines, and ammunition, including:
|Glock 43X pistol, 9mm||Black Kimber custom pistol, .45|
|American Tactical Inc. GSG Firefly pistol, .22 LR||FMK AR-1 EXTREME rifle, binary trigger|
|CZ 75D pistol, 9mm||Mossberg, 12-gauge 2.0 Flex shotgun|
|FMK Firearms AR-1 EXTREME, 5.56||Savage Rascal rifle, .22 LR|
|Sig Sauer MPX, 9mm||Ruger MINI-14 rifle, .223|
|Mossberg Blaze 47 rifle, .22 LR||American Tactical GSG-16 rifle, .22LR|
|Mossberg 590 12 gauge shotgun||Savage AXIS rifle, .223|
|Zastava Arms AK47 style rifle, 7.62||S&W M&P 15-22P rifle, .22 LR, binary trigger, ghost gun|
|Radical Firearms RF-15 rifle, 5.56||Polymer80 pistol, 9mm, ghost gun|
|FIME Group SAIGA-12 rifle, 12 gauge||Lower rifle receiver|
|LWRC International M61C rifle, 5.56||Lower receiver, ghost gun|
|Windham Weaponry WW-15, .223||Sig Sauer, MCX rifle, 300 Blackout|
|Sig Sauer MCX rifle, 7.62||Glock 42 pistol, caliber .380|
|Glock 44 pistol, .22 LR, obliterated serial #||Walther P22|
|Walther PK380 pistol, .380||Lower receiver, assembled to fire, full auto, ghost gun|
|Glock 45 pistol, 9mm||Lower receiver, assembled to fire, full auto, ghost gun|
|Glock 19 pistol, 9mm||3D printed auto-sear switch, full auto|
|Sig Sauer P320 pistol, 9mm||16 silencers/suppressors|
|Glock 22 pistol, .40||23 ghost gun kits|
|Ruger SR1911 pistol, 10mm||approximately 223 assorted magazines, including large-capacity drum magazines|
It is alleged that the defendants orchestrated a significant straw purchasing scheme where they sourced firearms and parts from local and online firearm retailers. It is also alleged that some of the components seized by investigators were used to convert semi-automatic firearms into fully automatic firearms.
A straw purchase of a firearm is a crime where an individual purchases a firearm on behalf of another in order to avoid federal and state background checks, which are designed to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals who are precluded by law from buying them themselves. Russell Gravier is prohibited by law from purchasing or possessing a firearm because of a prior conviction for domestic felony assault in 2011 and other domestic convictions.
Detective Matthew McGloin and Detective Matthew Nadeau of the Providence Police Department; Sergeant Jay Greene of the West Warwick Police Department; Detective Matthew Leclerc of the Coventry Police Department; Special Agent Anthony Ventetuolo of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Investigator Eric Yankee of the RIAG Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation; and Special Assistant Attorneys General Alison Bittl and Gregory Moore of the Office of the Attorney General are leading the investigation and prosecution of the case.
Russell Gravier was arraigned in Kent County Superior Court on October 13, 2022. Christina Federici is scheduled to be arraigned in Kent County Superior Court on November 4, 2022.
Urban Violent Crime Initiative
The cases were investigated under an initiative that began in 2021, by the Office of the Attorney General; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls Police Departments; and the Department of Corrections to proactively target violent crime and firearms trafficking in the greater Providence Area.
The Attorney General has deputized officers from law enforcement agencies in Providence, Pawtucket, and Central Falls to provide greater ability to investigate suspects across municipal jurisdictions. As part of this initiative, prosecutors, investigators, and analysts work together to gather data and intelligence, analyze the information to support investigations and prosecutions, and guide violent crime enforcement priorities. The partner agencies have prioritized information sharing and analysis across agencies through the use of a data analyst and platform – funded through a Department of Justice grant awarded to the Office of the Attorney General in 2020.
Recently, the Office of the Attorney General purchased a National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) machine, only one of two in the entire state, using asset forfeiture funds, that will allow for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms.
Using these tools, the team can quickly draw connections between different crime scenes and weave together police reports and other records to help identify suspects and witnesses.