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Flushing man gets 20 yrs for illegal firearm arsenal

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A Flushing man was sentenced to 20 years in prison last week by a Manhattan judge just over a year after police found a massive cache of weapons in his home, authorities said.

Suwei Chuang, 36, of 135−11 40 Road, was sentenced in Manhattan Criminal Court Feb. 24 after being convicted on 23 counts of weapons possession charges in January.

Chuang was arrested in January 2008 in downtown Manhattan after police received information that he was carrying a firearm, the 109th Precinct said. A search warrant for the suspect’s vehicle uncovered a $15,000 AR−15 assault rifle with a scope and 18 fully loaded magazine clips, police said.

Authorities subsequently found scores of weapons and more than 20,000 rounds of ammo, some of which was armor piercing, when they raided Chuang’s apartment, police said.

Chuang’s hoard of weapons included a Belgian−made PS−90 automatic machine gun, a 12−gauge shotgun, a 9mm pistol, two rifles, four air rifles and 40 combat knives, according to police. In addition, police found four Kevlar bullet−proof vests and six Motorola police−type radios.

Deputy Inspector Matthew Wheelan, the 109th Precinct’s commanding officer, said the incident was a reminder of the danger his officers face on any given day.

“It just goes to show you that we don’t know what’s behind these doors,” Wheelan said following Chuang’s arrest. “This guy snaps one day and you’ve got a guy on the streets with thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

The sentence will not be Chuang’s first stay in prison. He served a six−month jail term in 1998 after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit arson.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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