Two dozen suspects were charged with trafficking more than 200 illegal firearms, the Brooklyn district attorney and NYPD said Wednesday at a news conference.
The 24 individuals, many of whom are allegedly associated with Bloods gangs in Virginia and Brooklyn, are accused of purchasing 217 handguns, rifles and assault-type weapons in Virginia, between June 2016 and February 2017, to be sold in Brooklyn.
“In this unique case, we charged more defendants and recovered more firearms than in any other case in Brooklyn’s history,” acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said.
The suspects were arrested the week prior to the Wednesday news conference after a long-term investigation conducted by the NYPD Firearms Investigations Unit and Brooklyn district attorney’s office. The investigation included intercepted communications and physical and video surveillance, the district attorney’s office said.
Through a wiretap, the suspects were allegedly heard calling themselves traffickers and mocking Virginia’s weak gun laws, prosecutors said. They allegedly used the profits from sales for drugs, jewelry, clothing, sneakers and money for jailed associates.
The weapons recovered included AK-47s, AR-15s, Thomson Industries, Mossberg 715Ts, MAC-10s, and handguns of various calibers including .45 caliber, .40 caliber, .380 caliber, and 9 mm. Sales of the firearms took place in Bed-Stuy, Fort Greene, Sunset Park and Boerum Hill, prosecutors said.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said when it’s possible for 24 individuals to participate in this type of interstate trafficking of weapons, “this nation has a serious gun-control problem.”
“Over and over again, New York City finds itself the final destination for illegal firearms,” O’Neill said. “Too often our citizens become victims of the associated gun violence.”
The suspects were being arraigned before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice William Harrington.