SALEM — A Salem man, allegedly caught on surveillance boasting to an informant that he was a "beast" who could put together an untraceable "ghost gun" in 30 minutes from pieces he ordered online, has been arrested by federal authorities on multiple firearms charges.
David "Chuckie" Echeverria, 26, of 17 Hazel St. was one of three men arrested early Wednesday morning in a series of raids in several North Shore locations. He is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, dealing firearms without a license, conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and possession of unregistered firearms.
Salem police assisted with the 6 a.m. arrest, department spokesman Capt. Frederick Ryan said.
According to court papers, Echeverria, a convicted felon and an alleged member of the "Asian Street Walker Crips" gang, was involved in the sale of approximately two dozen untraceable or stolen handguns and rifles between July and this month.
Also facing charges are Ariel "Blanco" Velasquez, 26, of Revere, allegedly a former member of the Latin Kings and now part of the Chelsea Outlaws street gang, and Colin Faller, 22, of Lynn, allegedly a member of the Gangster Disciples.
All three men were ordered held without bail following their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Boston late Wednesday afternoon. They will be brought back to court for a detention hearing on Tuesday afternoon.
An affidavit filed by special agent Peter Milligan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms describes how the three men came onto the radar of federal investigators last summer.
A "cooperating witness" agreed to wear a body wire and take part in a series of purchases from the three men at locations in Lynn, Revere and at Echeverria's rented apartment in Salem.
Echeverria and the other men were involved in a series of transactions in which the informant used money provided by the agents to make the purchases.
Echeverria offered to build guns with the ability to be fitted with silencers or laser sights, the affidavit said.
Over the next few months, he would eventually agree to let the informant watch him assemble a gun in his apartment, as a toddler holding a baby bottle stood nearby, according to the affidavit.
"This little girl had more guns in her hand than you," Echeverria allegedly told the informant.
He also allegedly pointed out a safe filled with "mad hammers," street slang for a large quantity of guns.
During one transaction at an address in Everett, he asked the informant to speak quietly because the little girl was sleeping upstairs.
He also allegedly told the informant to watch out for upcoming changes in the law that would prohibit the shipment of parts to Massachusetts, explaining that several states had already banned their sale.
Echeverria also told the informant where he could still find parts, including eBay. The guns would be assembled using tools like a Dremel, a drill, and pliers.
One scheduled meeting was delayed by a day; Echeverria said he couldn't meet the informant on Aug. 27 because he was involved in an incident in which another buyer had tried to rob him after purchasing a gun, according to the affidavit.
It was after that incident that Echeverria allegedly held a gun to the informant and warned him that he'd "blow his top off" if he ever tried to rob him.
Last summer, Massachusetts legislators held a hearing on proposed bills that would ban the sale of "ghost gun" parts, among other new restrictions.
The address where Echeverria was living, not far from Salem State University, has appeared in Salem police department logs more than 30 times since 2010. It is owned by Harold and Christina Wurster of Annapolis, Maryland.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.