Colonie police nab 3 after traffic stop yields drugs and a ‘ghost gun’

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Mugshots of Jaquan Sams, Belinda Caravella-Taylor, Zaquawn Graves

Mugshots of Jaquan Sams, Belinda Caravella-Taylor, and Zaquawn Graves, plus the ghost gun allegedly possessed by Graves. (Colonie Police Department)

LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Colonie police say they arrested Zaquawn D. Graves, 24, of Albany just after midnight on Thursday on a felony charge for his “ghost gun.” They also say Jaquan J. Sams, 31, and Belinda J. Caravella-Taylor, 30, who were in a vehicle with Graves, on drug charges.

Police say an officer pulled over the 2001 Nissan Maxima driven by Sams on Wolf Road for several traffic violations. According to law enforcement, Sams’ license was suspended and that he handed over several bags of marijuana to the officer.

Police say they searched the car, finding a small amount of cocaine belonging to Sams by the driver’s seat. During the search, they say they also found a defaced .40 caliber ghost gun with no serial number or identifying markings. They say the gun belonged to Graves, a passenger in the vehicle.

Police say Caravella-Taylor, the second passenger, had three MDMA pills and a small amount of marijuana.

Graves was arrested for the gun and Caravella-Taylor for the drugs, while police say Sams is on the hook for vehicle, traffic, and drug charges.

Graves’ felony charges—two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon—could be worth 14 years in prison if he’s convicted. According to police, Graves was sent to Albany County Correctional Facility as a “pre-arraignment detainee,” but has no court date because courts remain closed.

Police charged Sams with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, unlawful possession of marijuana, and the traffic violations unsafe U-turn, unregistered motor vehicle, improper plates, uninspected motor vehicle, no front plate, and drinking alcohol in the vehicle. His misdemeanor charges could be worth close to two years in prison, according to state sentencing guidelines.

Caravella-Taylor’s seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charge carries just under a year in prison if she’s convicted.

Lacking a proper chain of custody, a “ghost gun”—like the one used in a November mass shooting at a California high school—is a Frankenstein weapon concocted from 3D printed materials, unregulated black-market purchases, and anonymous online sales. A responsible gun-owner would have no reason to pursue a ghost gun instead of adhering to safe legal practices.

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