A Niagara County grand jury has indicted a Falls man on 19 counts of operating a gun factory in his LaSalle neighborhood home.
The grand jury charged Alfred M. Bax, 33, 332 78th St., with one count of first-degree criminal possession of a weapon and 18 counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Bax pleaded not guilty to the charges and was allowed to remain free on bail of $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond.
All of the charges Bax faces are considered violent felonies under New York law.
Niagara County prosecutors said they had offered Bax a plea deal prior to his indictment. However, First Assistant District Attorney Doreen Hoffmann said Bax's defense attorney rejected the offer.
Falls Police Narcotics & Intelligence Division detectives, and members of the department's Emergency Response Team, raided Bax's home, at 332 78th St., on April 5 and uncovered what investigator's described as a “ghost gun manufacturing operation” inside the house.
Detectives said they found a cache of long guns and handguns, most of which appeared to be ghost guns. The term typically applies to homemade or improvised firearms that are manufactured using readily available parts and without commercial serial numbers.
The lack of serial numbers make the weapons almost impossible to trace.
Investigators said they recovered 13 handguns, nine rifles, and three sawed-off shotguns. The rifles were described as primarily AR-15 style assault rifles.
AR-15s are among the most commonly produced ghost guns, while AK-47-style semi-automatic rifles are also popularly made as ghost guns.
Detectives also seized thousands of rounds of ammunition and gun parts, ready to be assembled, from Bax's home. Investigators said a small amount of suspected cocaine was also recovered.
The gun manufacturing reportedly took place inside a modest two-story home in the city’s LaSalle neighborhood. Immediately after the raid, several SUVs and a black pickup truck were visible in the home’s driveway.
The pickup truck had a sign with a vulgar reference to President Joe Biden hanging on its tailgate.
Investigators have not offered any explanation for why Bax was manufacturing guns or who the weapons may have been intended for. Falls police say their investigation of the operation is still ongoing.