On Friday, in federal court in Brooklyn, Joseph Miner, 30, of Bayside, Queens, who had expressed interest online in obtaining weapons for use in a racial “holy war,” pleaded guilty via videoconference before United States District Judge William F. Kuntz II to possessing a firearm with obliterated serial numbers.
Law enforcement began investigating Miner’s interest in illegally buying firearms in late 2019 when he posted on social media accounts his desire to obtain assault weapons and other firearms for a racial civil war or racial holy war.
The criminal complaint states that on his Instagram page, Miner posted a photograph of himself giving a Nazi salute and wrote, “God, I hate women jews and n—–rs.” In a different post, Miner seen depicted giving a Nazi salute as he displayed a large and added, “overthrowing [Jews] is our Christian duty.”
He also celebrated the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the December 2019 machete attack at a synagogue in Monsey, calling the latter attack “pretty f— exciting.” Soon afterward, he put up a photo of the entrance to a Jewish center in Queens.
Although Miner at times disavowed interest in conducting an attack himself, on more than one occasion he posted social media messages in which he displayed suicidal ideations and fantasized about “martyring” himself and “go[ing] out in a blaze of glory” in a mass-shooting attack.
In April 2020, Miner initiated contact with an undercover law enforcement agent who was posing as a firearms dealer. Miner requested firearms from the undercover agent knowing that the serial numbers were removed from the guns that the undercover agent was offering for sale.
On May 12, 2020, Miner met the undercover agent at a Queens hotel and purchased a Glock 19 9mm semi-automatic handgun with an obliterated serial number.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, announced the guilty plea.
“With today’s guilty plea, Miner has been held accountable and faces a prison sentence for possessing an illegal firearm with obliterated serial numbers that he purchased from an undercover agent,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “This office, together with our federal and local partners, is working tirelessly to prevent illegal firearms from endangering our community.”
The government’s case is being handled by the office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Artie McConnell and Josh Hafetz are in charge of the prosecution.
When sentenced, Miner faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment.