For Immediate Release
Felon Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison in Connection With Firearm Trafficking Scheme
CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y — U.S. District Judge Joan M. Azrack sentenced Dennis Wolfolk of Marietta, Georgia, to 57 months in prison for possessing firearms in relation to a larger scheme to purchase and illegally transport into New York more than two dozen handguns. Wolfolk pleaded guilty in May to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Co-defendant Patrick Polidore pleaded guilty in September to making false statements to acquire firearms and is awaiting sentencing.
Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Thomas Kalogiros, Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, announced the charges.
“The so-called gun trafficking 'Iron Pipeline' from Georgia to Long Island took a detour to a federal courtroom for Wolfolk, a convicted felon, who was punished today for his continuing disregard of the law and serious criminal conduct that resulted in guns being found in the hands of juveniles, a parolee, criminals and at the scene of a murder,” stated U.S. Attorney Peace. “This Office and our law enforcement partners are working tirelessly to investigate and prosecute those like the defendant who attempt to circumvent state and federal gun laws and contribute to the presence of deadly guns in our community.”
Mr. Peace thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the ATF’s Atlanta Field Division, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Nassau County Police Department and the Hempstead Police Department for their assistance in the investigation.
“The interstate flow of illegal guns is a grave threat to public safety,” stated ATF Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Kalogiros. “This sentencing sends a clear message to those who think they can traffic firearms into New York without consequence. ATF New York will continue to share Crime Gun Intelligence with law enforcement partners across all boundaries to identify, disrupt and dismantle firearms trafficking schemes. Each illegal firearm recovered is a potential life saved. I commend the work of ATF New York’s Long Island Field Office, Nassau County PD, Hempstead PD and EDNY for their diligent efforts and collaboration through this investigation.”
Between October and December 2020, Polidore visited numerous federally licensed retailers in the Atlanta metropolitan area and acted as the straw purchaser for approximately 27 handguns, many of which were purchased in rapid succession on a handful of common dates. For example, on Oct. 29, 2020, Polidore purchased two handguns from two different retailers; six days later, on Nov. 4, 2020, he purchased six more handguns from four different retailers; on Nov. 18, 2020, he purchased five firearms from four different retailers; between Nov. 20, 2020 and Nov. 23, 2020, he purchased 10 handguns from at least four different retailers; on Nov. 30, 2020, he purchased two handguns from two different retailers; and two days later, on Dec. 2, 2020, he purchased three more handguns from two different retailers. On ATF Forms 4473 – federal records that document firearms transactions – Polidore falsely affirmed that he was the intended recipient of the weapons when, in actuality, he had conspired with Wolfolk, who, as a convicted felon, was legally prohibited from possessing a firearm, to traffic the handguns to New York, where he distributed them to street-level buyers, many of whom were themselves prohibited from having a gun.
At least 12 of the handguns Wolfolk transported to New York have been recovered by law enforcement at crime scenes in and around Long Island. On Nov. 4, 2020, for example, Polidore purchased six firearms from four different retail locations in Georgia, which Wolfolk trafficked to New York. Shortly after, those firearms began emerging on Long Island. On Dec. 22, 2020, a serialized gun box matching a .40-caliber Glock model 27 handgun purchased by Polidore was recovered from the scene of a murder in Hempstead. On Jan. 13, 2021, during a traffic stop in Hempstead, three juveniles were found in possession of a 9mm Ruger model Security-9 handgun purchased by Polidore. On May 28, 2021, during a traffic stop in Patchogue, police arrested an individual in possession of a .22-caliber Walther model P22 handgun purchased by Polidore. On Oct. 3, 2021, a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun purchased by Polidore was recovered from a robbery suspect in Bethpage.
Other firearms involved in the scheme were similarly recovered in the hands of criminals. On Jan. 12, 2021, for example, a Taurus 9mm model G3C handgun purchased by Polidore on Nov. 23, 2020, was recovered from a parolee in Lynbrook.
Wolfolk has a previous felony conviction for attempted second-degree criminal possession of a firearm.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Bagnuola and Mark E. Misorek are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Special Agent Michael Cassidy.