Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Patrick Polidore was arraigned by United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke on charges that he and co-defendant Dennis Wolfolk conspired to purchase and illegally transport into New York more than two dozen handguns. Wolfolk is in federal custody at the Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility located in Lovejoy, Georgia, and will be removed to the Eastern District of New York for arraignment on the charges at a later date.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, John B. Devito, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Patrick J. Ryder, Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), and Anne T. Donnelly, Nassau District Attorney announced the charges.
“As alleged, these defendants illegally trafficked over two dozen guns across state lines, distributing them to street-level buyers in New York where at least 11 were then used in numerous violent crimes, including multiple shootings across Long Island,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute those who exploit state and federal gun laws directly leading to deadly gun violence in our communities.”
Mr. Peace thanked the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the ATF’s Atlanta Field Division, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Nassau County Police Department, and the Hempstead Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
“Straw purchasers undermine federal laws and enable violent criminals to obtain firearms that destroy lives and devastate communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge DeVito. “This investigation was initiated by the ATF Long Island Firearms Task Force after a 2020 murder in Hempstead, NY. Evidence recovered by ATF led to Polidore. As alleged, further investigation revealed he conspired to illegally traffic approximately 27 firearms from Georgia to Long Island. ATF is on the frontline in the fight against firearms trafficking alongside our partners. We will use every resource to save lives and stop the flow of illegal guns into our communities. Thank you to our law enforcement partners, including: Nassau County Police Department’s Gang Investigation Squad, Nassau County District Attorney and Hempstead Police Department for all their work and effort.”
“The arraignment of defendant Patrick Polidore and continued investigation into defendant Dennis Wolfolk is a clear example how law enforcement working together continues to arrest and prosecute these criminals to ensure the safety of our neighborhoods. The defendants illegally transported dozens of handguns to Long Island and surrounding areas. Some of these weapons were used in the commission of multiple shootings and other violent crimes. We will continue to investigate all who break the law in order to reduce gun violence in all communities. Lastly, I would like to thank all of the investigators who assisted with this investigation for their commitment and dedication to suppressing crime,” stated NCPD Commissioner Ryder.
Nassau District Attorney Donnelly said: “Illegal firearms are flooding into Long Island every day and causing untold destruction. To date, our county law enforcement partners have seized 272 weapons in 2022. As of this date last year, that number was 193. Patrick Polidore and Dennis Wolfolk are part of that problem. These defendants allegedly conspired to purchase firearms in Georgia and trafficked those weapons to Long Island, where at least 11 of them have already been recovered at crime scenes. Stemming the flow of illegal weapons into Long Island requires great partners and I thank U.S. Attorney Breon Peace; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Nassau County Police Department for their work in bringing these alleged gun runners to justice.”
As alleged in an 11-count Indictment and detailed at Polidore’s arraignment, between October 2020 and January 2021, Polidore visited numerous federally licensed retailers and acted as the straw purchaser for approximately 27 handguns, many of which were purchased in rapid succession on the same date. For example, as alleged, on November 4, 2020, Polidore purchased six handguns at multiple locations in Georgia; on November 18, 2020, and November 23, 2020, he purchased a total of ten handguns. On federal records that document firearms transactions, Polidore falsely affirmed that he was the actual purchaser of the weapons when, in actuality, he had conspired with Wolfolk, who, as a convicted felon, was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm, to traffic the handguns to New York, where they were distributed to street-level buyers.
At least 11 of the handguns Wolfolk transported to New York have been recovered by law enforcement at crime scenes in and around Long Island. For example, shortly after Polidore’s November 4, 2020 purchase of six handguns from different retailers in Georgia, Wolfolk traveled to Long Island with the weapons. Within months, three of the firearms purchased by Polidore were recovered by police on Long Island:
On January 13, 2021, during a traffic stop in Hempstead, New York—where Wolfolk had previously resided—three individuals, including a juvenile, were found in possession of a 9mm Ruger handgun purchased by Polidore. This gun was linked to an earlier shooting in Uniondale on November 25, 2020, in which unknown individuals fired shots at a vehicle. The shell casings from that shooting incident matched the firearm purchased by Polidore just two days earlier.
On May 28, 2021, during a traffic stop in Patchogue, New York, police arrested an individual in possession of a .22-caliber Walther handgun purchased by Polidore.
On October 3, 2021, police arrested an individual fleeing the scene of an armed robbery in Bethpage, New York, who was in possession of a .40-caliber Smith & Wessen handgun purchased by Polidore. This same firearm was subsequently linked to a shooting incident in Hempstead on December 16, 2020
Additionally, on December 22, 2020, police investigating the scene of a homicide in Hempstead, New York, located a gun box that had been purchased along with a .40-caliber Glock handgun by Polidore.
To date, the whereabouts of at least 16 firearms purchased by Polidore are still unknown.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Bagnuola and Mark E. Misorek are in charge of the prosecution.