West Warwick couple charged in firearms straw purchasing scheme

PROVIDENCE – A West Warwick couple are facing felony charges stemming from a joint investigation into alleged firearms trafficking and ghost gun manufacturing, Attorney General Peter F. Neronha said on Tuesday.

The statewide grand jury has returned indictments charging Russell Gravier, 41, with multiple weapons violations, including possession of a ghost gun, a machine gun, a silencer and a binary trigger.

Christina Federici, 37, has been charged with providing false information in securing a firearm, straw purchasing a firearm, illegal sale of a concealable weapon and other violations.

Urban Violent Crime Task Force members on July 20 arrested the defendants and seized 37 firearms; 16 silencers and suppressors; two binary triggers, which convert semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic weapons; various firearm components; tools to manufacture firearms; approximately 223 magazines; three body armor vests; holsters and tactical gear; and hundreds of rounds of ammunition from West Warwick locations.

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Investigators say the defendants orchestrated a straw purchasing scheme. A straw purchase of a firearm is a crime where an individual purchases a firearm on behalf of another in order to avoid federal and state background checks, according to Neronha’s office.

“This case has it all: dozens of ghost guns kits purchased online without the necessity of a background check and easily completed at home, fully automatic weapons, silencers, high-capacity magazines and the straw purchasing of firearms,” Neronha said in a statement. “The weapons recovered here were headed to only one place, our neighborhoods, in the hands of criminals fully prepared to commit acts of violence.”

The case stemmed from a previous task force investigation that led to the arrest of three individuals in Central Falls and Providence, where multiple firearms, large-capacity magazines, cellphones and illegal narcotics were seized.

Gravier was arraigned in Kent County Superior Court on Oct. 13. Federici is scheduled to be arraigned in Kent County Superior Court on Nov. 4.