February 26, 2021
By: Tyler Eckel
NEWARK– A Suffolk County, New York, man was arrested today for illegally possessing a firearm, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Keith Richter, aka “Conan,” 62, of Bay Shore, New York, is charged by criminal complaint with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is scheduled to appear by videoconference this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Richter is the national president of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, an outlaw motorcycle gang known by law enforcement to engage in illegal activity, including narcotics trafficking, weapons trafficking, and violent crimes.
On February 20, 2021, the Pagans hosted a party in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While Richter was traveling home from the party late at night, he was stopped by law enforcement officers in Mercer County, New Jersey. Officers recovered a loaded Ruger P345 .45 caliber handgun from the vehicle.
Richter was previously convicted of felony offenses, including conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering and attempted assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering, for which he served 16 years in prison.
The count of being a felon in possession of a weapon carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Charlie J. Patterson in Newark; special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson; the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney Timothy D. Sini; the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo; and the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to these charges.
This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensured that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert Frazer, R. Joseph Gribko, and Samantha C. Fasanello, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.