Queens, NY – A Forest Hills woman is facing gun charges after New York Police Department (NYPD) officers raided her home last December and found 22 prop guns.
The incident occurred on Dec. 28, 2019 when police acted on a tip and executed a search warrant at the home of 31-year-old Elizaveta Zlatkis on 67th Road in Forest Hills, QNS reported.
Zlatkis was arrested and charged with four counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of acting in a manner injurious to a child under 17 because her children were in the home at the time of the raid.
She’s also facing eight misdemeanor counts of violating local laws related to ammunition, the Queens Eagle reported.
Police celebrated the operation with a social media post that included a picture of the officers who seized the guns standing around a table displaying the fake weapons.
“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,” NYPD’s 112th Precinct tweeted.
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. pic.twitter.com/4oNwIeRjYp
— NYPD 112th Precinct (@NYPD112Pct) December 28, 2019
But what NYPD failed to highlight in their tweet was the fact that 21 of the 22 “guns” that had been confiscated were airsoft rifles, starter pistols, or toy replicas, the Queens Eagle reported.
The one real “gun” seized by police had been rendered inoperable and was missing its trigger, handgrip, and some internal components.
It turned out that Zlatkis and her husband, Elvis Selimi, loan and rent the fake guns to production companies for use in music videos, the Queens Eagle reported.
“We do videos with them as props,” Rosedale rapper Crucial explained. “I didn’t know you could actually get in trouble with all that. That’s wild. They’re fake.”
Zlatkis appeared in the background of at least one music video by artist Tay Spades and has made friends in the industry, according to the Queens Eagle.
She spent one night in jail after her arrest and was released by the judge on her own recognizance the next day.
Her attorney, Joe Murray, said the judge recognized the absurdity of the charges, the Queens Eagle reported.
“Not a single gun was real,” Murray said. “I want to clear her name. She’s not a gangster.”
NYPD has admitted the guns weren’t operable, the Queens Eagle reported.
“Firearms were recovered on Friday, December 27, 2019 in regard to a search warrant and deemed inoperable at a later date,” NYPD Detective Denise Moroney said.
But despite the fact the “guns” seized weren’t actual, operable lethal weapons, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has refused to drop the case, the Forest Hills Patch reported.
Murray said Zlatkis has refused to accept a plea deal.
A spokesperson for Katz’s office refused to say whether the district attorney was considering dropping the charges and told the Forest Hills Patch that they didn’t comment on pending cases.