State police seized 59 firearms from the home of a former Westchester pizzeria owner accused of manufacturing and selling illegal assault rifles and handguns.
The arrest of Michael K. Giannone, who owned Bella Ella's in Croton Falls, comes after a months-long investigation, according to police. Through the course of the investigation, police said that it was revealed that AR-15 style assault rifles were being machined, assembled, and sold from Giannone's New Fairfield, Conn., home.
At around 8:30 a.m. on March 24, detectives observed Giannone, 44, drop off his child at a nearby school, and said that he was in possession of a firearm while on school property. Upon leaving school grounds he was stopped with the assistance of the New Fairfield Resident Trooper Office and brought into custody, police said. He was taken back to his home, where a search was conducted pursuant to a court-granted search and seizure warrant, police said.
Police said that the search revealed several firearms, both rifles and handguns. A shed workshop behind the house was found to contain assorted tools and equipment used to manufacture AR-15's, as well as AR-15 lower receivers and many components utilized in the manufacture of AR-15 rifles, police said. A search of the two family vehicles also revealed many firearms and component parts, according to police.
The search and seizure warrant was for all firearms, firearm components and parts, ammunition and records of firearms possession and sales, police said. An AR-15 rifle that had been sold to a person prior to the execution of the search warrant was also seized, according to police.
The search revealed a total of 59 complete firearms, which included 48 legal firearms, according to police. This included: nine illegal, unregistered assault rifles, including two AK-47 assault rifles and five complete AR-15 assault rifles with no serial numbers; one rifle with an illegal silencer and two additional silencers; 65 illegal high-capacity magazines; 12 illegal AR-15 lower receivers without serial numbers that police say could make 12 individual AR-15's; Over 10,000 live rounds of ammunition that police say could be up to 20,000.
On March 24, Giannone was arrested in conjunction with the search warrant at his house and charged with firearms trafficking, two counts of sale of assault weapons, two counts of sale of assault weapons, two counts of possession/sale of high-capacity magazines, and two counts of illegal firearms transfer.
The investigation continued after Giannone's arrest, and on Tuesday, June 21 he was arrested again via a warrant issued by the superior court, police said. He turned himself in to Troop A-Southbury, where he was fingerprinted, photographed and held on a $100,000 bond pending court.
Giannone was additionally charged Tuesday with nine counts of possession of an assault weapon, three counts of possession of silencers, 65 counts of possession of high-capacity magazines, improper storage of firearms, risk of injury to a minor, and possession of a weapon on school grounds.
The investigation and search were conducted by the State Police Statewide Urban Violence Cooperative Crime Control Task Force, with assistance from the Connecticut State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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