American man handed 5-year sentence for trafficking ‘ghost guns’ to Dominican Republic

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An American man named Robert Alcantara, aged 36, has been sentenced 5 years in prison for the crime of trafficking untraceable ‘ghost guns’ to the Dominican Republic by US District Judge Vernon S. Brodrick, as stated by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams, on the 21st of December, 2023.

He added that Robert Alcantara himself is responsible for trafficking 100 untraceable guns to the Dominican Republic, before selling them, thus proliferating weapons that are a direct threat to public safety and peace.

Case Charges and Indictment

The documents which delineated the charges in court stated that Alcantara operated an illegal gun factory out of his residence in Rhode Island between 2017 and January 2022. Alcantara would frequent gun shows and other such events to acquire ghost gun kits and proceed to machine the kits into functional firearms.

He would then illegally export these weapons to the Dominican Republic to be sold, following which, the profits were laundered by Alcantara and his associates, thus completing the criminal chain of events.

Alcantara has also pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiracy to traffic guns and money laundering previously.

Alcantara was stopped by the authorities on the 20th of November 2021, with 45 ghost gun kits in his vehicle. Upon being interrogated, he revealed to law enforcement agents that he was planning on machining the kits, thus turning them into functional weapons and had an additional 50 ghost guns stored at his residence.

While most of the weapons that he machined and trafficked were hand guns, some assault rifles were also produced and sold by him, underlining the danger to society that his criminal activities presented.

An important fact to note about Robert Alcantara’s sentencing is that upon the completion of his sentence, he will serve 3 years of supervised release so as to ensure that he is not able to establish his illegal arms trade once again.

Damian Williams also highlighted the brilliant investigative work put into this case by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement, New York Field Office.

He mentioned the New York State Police Department, the New York City Police Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island and the Providence Police Department, thanking them for their invaluable contribution to the proceedings of this particular case.

For United States Attorney Damian Williams, the son of a Jamaican born physician, this case was a reminder of his Caribbean roots, thus taking on a special significance.

Kamala Harris on Arms Trafficking from the US to the Caribbean

Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, visited the Caribbean on a diplomatic mission in June 2023, with the express purpose of culling the illegal arms trade between the United States and the Caribbean, as well as reaffirming US support for strategic climate partnerships with Caribbean nations.

On this particular trip, she visited the Bahamas, becoming the highest-ranking US official to visit the country since it gained its independence in 1973.

She also used this opportunity to hold her 4th multilateral meeting with the leaders of the region, which allowed her to converse with the representatives of nations including Barbados, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad and other CARICOM countries.

She also met with Prime Minister Philip Davis in Nassau, leading to the announcement of rigorous federal initiatives to counter the illegal arms trade in the Caribbean.

Through this meeting, Harris announced that a sum of $100 million had been granted to the island, so as to support its efforts against illegal arms being sold on the black market. This amount will also go towards programs ensuring the national security of the island nation.

Another significant point on the agenda was reaffirming the Unites States’ commitment to coordinate with Prime Minister Davis in terms of their shared climate goals for 2030.

A senior administrative officer stated the following, “The vice president has been very clear that we needed to elevate our engagement with the Caribbean and really, she has delivered on that commitment.”

Such summits and meetings have helped the United States establish a more profound presence in the Eastern Caribbean region, thus facilitating the security of the region through coordinated efforts.

A White House representative also stated the following, “This effort, pursued in consultation with the United States Congress and the countries of the region, recognizes that deepening our relationship with Caribbean nations requires regular exchange between our governments at all levels and is in response to long-standing requests from our Caribbean partners.”

“An expanded diplomatic footprint in the Caribbean will help strengthen people-to-people ties between our nations.”

The United States is also expected to mobilize the State Department, which will offer its expertise to a regional Crime Gun Intelligence Unit based off the coast of South America. This initiative will help United States agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol, as well as INTERPOL.

Through these efforts, law enforcement agencies will be able to share significantly larger packets of data, assist with vital investigations and train personnel in the requisite skills for the tasks to be undertaken.

The State Department has also made it evident that it is coordinating with the United Kingdom to appoint a Criminal Justice Advisor for the Caribbean, who will assist local prosecutors while also raising the level of public legal education.

Thus, these initiatives collectively show the comprehensive approach that Caribbean nations are taking with regard to managing gun violence, with the support of the United States as a strategic partner.

This will not only help curb the rising cases of gun violence and violent crimes in the Caribbean but also help establish a grip on the illegal arms manufacturing and trafficking mechanisms which are operating in the United States.

Furthermore, through these efforts, regional partners and the United States are making significant attempts to stabilize the tenuous situation in Haiti, which has been a reason for concern not just in the Caribbean but around the world.

George Henry
George Henry
George Henry, a distinguished graduate of Columbia University, pursued his passion in Economics with outstanding academic achievements. George found his calling in journalism, aiming to raise awareness regarding geopolitical and socioeconomic issues. He is recognized for having a keen interest in international geopolitics, sports and women's rights. To reach George, you can email


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