Home News Neo-Nazi Telegram moderator sold gun parts to NYPD undercover from prison cell:...

Neo-Nazi Telegram moderator sold gun parts to NYPD undercover from prison cell: prosecutors


The moderator of a white supremacist Telegram channel targeted to neo-Nazis stockpiling weapons is expected to be extradited to New York for allegedly dealing gun parts to an undercover NYPD cop from a Louisiana prison, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Hayden Espinosa of Corpus Christi, Texas, was serving a 33-month sentence for selling unregistered machine gun parts at the time of the sales, which a Manhattan Supreme Court indictment alleges were promoted on his extremist channel “3D Amendment” and facilitated with contraband cell phones.

At a news conference, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg described Espinosa’s online channel, replete with Hitler iconography and racist, misogynistic and homophobic language, as a “hub for racially and ethnically motivated extremism.” He said the case underscored the urgent need to legislate against homemade manufacturing of firearms and dismantle gun trafficking networks fueled by hateful ideologies.

Guns and parts sold to an undercover NYPD Officer is pictured during a press conference in downtown Manhattan where District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr., Homeland Security Investigations-HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo, US Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel B. Brubaker, ATF Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller, NYPD Deputy Commissioner, Intelligence & Counterterrorism Rebecca Weiner announced the indictment of Hayden Espinosa accused of advertising and sell illegal guns, parts while using a cell phone and a Telegram app from inside a Federal Prison in Louisiana. Mr. Espinosa was released from Federal Prison on June 4 and was immediately arrested by the Grant Parish Sheriff's Office on the New York State Supreme Court indictment. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)
Guns and parts sold to an undercover NYPD officer are pictured during a press conference in Manhattan on Tuesday. (Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News)

“We see this sad and tragic combination far too often, the intersection of gun violence and gun trafficking and hate and extremism,” Bragg said. “It is very, very disturbing.”

According to the indictment, the 24-year-old Espinosa attempted to sell a Glock-style handgun to a New York-based undercover between August and November 2023 and sold him two auto sears used to transform semiautomatic firearms into machine guns — dangerous devices the DA said authorities were increasingly encountering.

“We are soberly seeing their prevalence continue to grow,” Bragg said.

The NYPD caught on to Espinosa’s racket in May 2022 after finding his Telegram account, which counted among its members the 19-year-old who traveled for three hours that month to murder 10 people at a Buffalo grocery store in a mass shooting driven by racism against Black people.

guns
At a news conference, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg described Espinosa’s online channel, replete with Hitler iconography and racist, misogynistic and homophobic language, as a “hub for racially and ethnically motivated extremism.”

Espinosa advertised guns and firearm accessories on the messaging app from his cell at the Federal Correctional Complex Pollock, according to court records, where his customers posted sales of their purchases motivated by accelerationism, white supremacy and neo-Nazi ideologies.

“Accelerationist chatter and sharing these beliefs often occur on encrypted messaging and social media platforms such as Telegram to encourage lone actors to take whatever actions are necessary to hasten violence and the collapse of the status quo,” prosecutors wrote in court papers accompanying his indictment.

“These actors believe that violence is the only catalyst for societal collapse and, to that end, promote the acquisition of firearms and weaponry.”

Rebecca Weiner, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said Espinosa’s case illustrated a confluence of growing threats facing Americans, including the scourge of illegal firearms and gun parts, the online spread of race-based hate and neo-Nazi ideology, and the digital ecosystem that enables it.

“This case, it is a gun case, but it has elements of all of that. And it’s an excellent example of how in today’s world, even straightforward crime often has a very multidimensional backdrop,” Weiner said at Tuesday’s press conference.

guns
At a news conference, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg described Espinosa’s online channel, replete with Hitler iconography and racist, misogynistic and homophobic language, as a “hub for racially and ethnically motivated extremism.”

The case was born from a long-running, multi-agency ghost gun probe involving Bragg’s office, the NYPD, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Espinosa was released from federal custody on June 4 and immediately rearrested by local authorities on charges brought by the DA. He’s charged with four counts of transporting deadly weapons and one count of attempted criminal sale of a firearm and is expected to appear in Manhattan for his arraignment on June 24.

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