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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of New York
Trini E. Ross, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 16, 2023

Convicted Felon Charged With Possessing a Gun

BUFFALO, N.Y.-U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Lay Wah, 23, a Burmese citizen living in Buffalo, NY, was charged by criminal complaint with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan E. Leydecker, who is handling the case, stated that according to the complaint, on March 13, 2023, the ATF and Buffalo Police executed a search warrant at Wah’s Newfield Street residence. Upon entering the residence, law enforcement observed Way move quickly from a computer room to a bedroom, where he was spotted reaching in a piece of furniture before pushing the door closed. Moments later, a law enforcement officer outside the residence observed an object, which turned out to be a loaded 9mm handgun, thrown from the same bedroom window. The handgun was equipped with a device which converts semi-automatic pistols into fully automatic machineguns. Inside the residence, law enforcement also recovered a quantity of cash, 9mm ammunition, various packaging materials, and a plastic bag containing numerous suspected counterfeit Percocet pills. In December 2020, Wah was convicted of a felony in Erie County Court and is legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Wah made an initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy and was detained.

The complaint is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. DeVito and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commission Joseph Gramaglia.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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