Law enforcement pulled the vehicle over in Mercer County, New Jersey. Law enforcement recovered a loaded Ruger P345 .45 caliber handgun from a front-seat compartment in the vehicle.
NEWARK, NJ — A Suffolk County, New York admitted today to illegally possessing a firearm, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Keith Richter, a/k/a “Conan,” 62, of Bay Shore, New York, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Kevin McNulty to an Information charging him with one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Richter is the national president of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club (the “Pagans”)—an outlaw motorcycle gang known by law enforcement to engage in illegal activity including narcotics trafficking, weapons trafficking, and violent crimes.
On or about February 20, 2021, the Pagans hosted a party in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While Richter was traveling from the party to his home in Suffolk County, New York, law enforcement pulled the vehicle over in Mercer County, New Jersey. Law enforcement recovered a loaded Ruger P345 .45 caliber handgun from a front-seat compartment in the vehicle. As a result, law enforcement obtained a warrant for Richter’s arrest, which was executed on February 26, 2021.
Richter was previously convicted of felony offenses, including conspiracy to commit murder and aggravated assault in aid of racketeering, for which he served a sixteen-year term of imprisonment.
The offense to which Richter pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 3. 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Newark Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Toby C. Taylor; 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 William A. Daniel; and the New Jersey State Police, under the direction of Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
This case is also 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.
Defense counsel: James R. Froccaro, Jr., Esq., Port Washington, New York
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