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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of New York
Carla B. Freedman, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 26, 2023

Washington County Man Admits Stealing 31 Firearms From Hudson Falls Gun Store and Using the Firearms in Relation to Drug Trafficking

ALBANY, N.Y. — Martin Taft, age 48, of Salem, New York, pled guilty today to one count of theft of firearms from a licensed dealer and one count of using firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of ATF New York Field Division; New York State Police Acting Superintendent Dominick Chiumento and Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey J. Murphy made the announcement.

Taft admitted to stealing firearms from Calamity Jane’s Firearms and Fine Shoes, a federally licensed firearms dealer, in Hudson Falls, New York, on October 21, 2022. Taft and co-conspirator Jonathon Combs used a sledgehammer to break into the store when it was closed and steal 31 semi-automatic pistols. Taft and Combs then exchanged most of the stolen pistols to another individual in return for cocaine that they intended to distribute.

Taft faces at least five years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of post-imprisonment supervised release of up to five years when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Anne M. Nardacci on February 24, 2024.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statutes the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, and other factors.

On April 27, 2023, Combs pled guilty to the same charges as Taft, as well as an additional count of theft of a firearm from a licensed dealer. Combs faces the same minimum and maximum penalties as Taft when he is sentenced on November 28, 2023.

The following defendant still faces charges in this case, which carry the following penalties:





Kwahpreme Mitchell


five years


The charges against Mitchell are merely accusations. Mitchell is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

ATF, NYSP and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case with assistance provided by the Washington County District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emmet O’Hanlon and Allen J. Vickey are prosecuting this case.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders works together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.


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