NEW YORK (PIX11) — East Harlem home-based day care operator April Coley tells PIX11 News she had no idea her 18-year-old son Karon Coley was under investigation for allegedly running an illegal ghost gun operation out of his bedroom.
His operation was in the same apartment where she operated her day care, police said.
“All I know is the gist of it about guns, but there was no one present besides my son. The day care area was not located where these items were found,” said Coley.
Zai, who lives in the building, is a family friend.
“The mom is like a friend of mine. It is unfortunate when you trust people with your children, and it turns out what you thought it is,” said Zai.
Police arrested her son late Tuesday evening at the apartment, after hours when no children were present, and seized a 3D printer, and two printed guns in an unlocked apartment room.
Mom April Coley was not arrested or charged.
Police Commissioner Edward Caban joined Mayor Eric Adams at police headquarters Wednesday, promising to step up inspection efforts in these safe havens, which are ruthlessly used to provide cover for illegal gun and drug activity.
“The new frontier is 3D printing. 3D-printed guns are among the easiest ways to obtain a gun. They could be made in your home,” said Caban.
This latest bust comes less than two weeks after the fatal fentanyl overdose of a 1-year-old in a Bronx home-based day care.
Mayor Adams made news Wednesday, revealing the city is now considering sending members of the NYPD to join health inspectors, all in an effort to increase the detection of drugs and guns in these facilities.
“We really believe there is going to be a need for a combined effort. All of us feel the chill of what we saw in these last two incidents,” Mayor Adams said.
According to New York state data, New York City is home to some 7,000 state-licensed home-based daycare facilities.
Local health officials receive more than $18 million in state funding to carry out inspections and other administrative functions.
But that breaks down to about $2,500 a year in oversight to cover the single, unannounced annual inspection that most home-based day care centers receive.
“You got an 18-year-old in his room. 3D printer. He is not making little robotic toys. He is making guns. That should be scary to everyone,” Mayor Adams said.
“As parents, we do not know what our children do,” said Josephine, who lives on the block. “People that are investigating these day cares are going to have to start looking for different things now.”
State records show Alay’s Daycare received only paperwork and administrative violations following its single, unannounced inspection earlier this year.
Inspectors, clearly unaware of the illegal ghost gun operation prosecutors say was being run out of a bedroom.