Queens woman facing 25-year prison sentence for possessing toy guns and inoperable video props

Law Enforcement Today – by Scott A. Davis

NEW YORK CITY, NY – A Queens woman is facing a 25-year prison sentence and felony weapons charges after police raided her home and seized a “stockpile of weapons,” which were later found to be toys and production props. One year later, Elizaveta Zlatkis is still fighting to have the charges dismissed.

The bizarre case began with a search warrant executed on her Queens, NY home on December 27, 2019. The NYPD’s 112th Precinct Field Intelligence Officer and Special Operations Unit executed a search warrant on Zlatkis’ 67th Road home based on a tip.

A criminal complaint at the time said multiple guns were taken from the home and that two young children had been found on the premises. Zlatkis was charged with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon, one count of acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17, and eight counts of violating local laws.

The 112th Precinct spread the weapons out on a table, took a picture of the officers involved standing behind them, and tweeted the photo praising the operation.:

“Great job yesterday from our Field Intelligence Officer and Special Operations Unit for a successful search warrant taking multiple guns off the streets of Forest Hills.”

However, 21 of the 22 firearms seized were not real, and the one real gun had been rendered inoperable.

Despite the firearms actually being airsoft rifles, toy replicas, and starter pistols incapable of firing ammunition, Zlatkis is still facing felony charges and a possible 25-year prison sentence. Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has declined to drop the case against Zlatkis.

Zlatkis said the arrest and continuing saga have made her life difficult. She said high school friends have separated from her, and she had to turn down a job offer because of a background check.

“I look completely crazy,” she said, noting that many of her high school friends have shared stories about her arrest on their social media pages. “It’s humiliating.”

Zlatkis explained that she and her husband loan fake guns to rappers and producers as props for music videos. She said two of her recent customers were rappers Cru’cial and Tay Spades. Crucial reacted to the arrest:

“We do videos with (the guns) as props. I didn’t know you could actually get in trouble with all that. That’s wild. They’re fake.”

The day of her arrest, Zlatkis spent a night in jail before being released on her own recognizance the next day. Her attorney, Joe Murray, pointed out that even the judge during her arraignment knew the charges were absurd. Murray said:

“Not a single gun was real. I want to clear her name. She’s not a gangster.”

Pro-gun blog Bearing Arms pointed out that although Zlatkis may not be a gangster, she is not out of the woods:

“In the eyes of the law, Zlatkis may very well be a gun owner, since a firearm is defined federally to include a finished frame or receiver for a gun, even if it doesn’t have a trigger attached to it.

“Even starter pistols meet the definition of a firearm under federal law because the ATF says they can be ‘readily converted’ into a real firearm.”

Bearing Arms explained that Zlatkis has been charged under a provision which New York state reserves for cases involving ten or more firearms. Despite the firearms not being able to fire live ammunition, Zlatkis possessed at least ten starter pistols or inoperable guns. Under the law, that meets the elements necessary to be charged with the crime.

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