78° Good Evening
78° Good Evening

Gun stolen in drug trafficking ring used to shoot NYC cop, NYPD says

The firearm used last year in the shooting of an NYPD detective in Brooklyn had been stolen from its owner in Vermont and traded for drugs as part of a heroin-for-guns operation, police said Tuesday.

NYPD Deputy Inspector Brian Gill, commander of the

NYPD Deputy Inspector Brian Gill, commander of the firearms suppression unit, shown in July 2016, said Tuesday that the NYPD suspects the gun used to shoot a department detective in a leg was stolen as part of a heroin-for-drugs operation. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

The firearm used last year in the shooting of an NYPD detective in Brooklyn had been stolen from its owner in Vermont and traded for drugs as part of a heroin-for-guns operation, police said Tuesday. 

Det. Miguel Soto was investigating an armed robbery on July 6, 2018 in Stuyvesant Heights when a suspect opened fire with the .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol.  Soto survived a single gunshot to a leg.

The suspect in the shooting, Kelvin Stichel, of Brooklyn, fled on foot but was captured by police.  Investigators found the handgun in a garbage can. Attempted murder charges against Stichel are pending.

As part of the investigation into the gun, federal officials in Vermont and the NYPD arrested three Vermont residents on federal charges they had trafficked in the firearm after it had been stolen from its legal owner, said NYPD Deputy Inspector Brian Gill, commander of the NYPD firearms suppression unit.

Three defendants, Jennifer Griffin, Kenneth Stone, and Gregory Miller, face felony firearms possession charges related to a drug trafficking offense,  according to court records filed in Vermont federal district court. Miller and Griffin pleaded not guilty on Monday and were ordered held without bail for a detention hearing Wednesday.  Stone is expected to be arraigned later.

A gun stolen in West Virginia, Gill noted, was used in the July 2017 fatal shooting of Bronx NYPD officer Miosotis Familia, 48, as she sat in a police vehicle.  Familia’s killer, Alexander Bonds, was shot dead by other cops a block away.

Less than a year before the shooting of Soto, the gun used was purchased in Rutland, Vermont, officials said. It was then stolen from a man identified as Henry Duval, a friend of Griffin’s family, according to a detention memorandum filed in the case.  During their investigation, federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, searched Griffin’s Facebook account and discovered messages between him and Stone discussing trading firearms for narcotics, according to the memorandum.

A photograph of Duval’s stolen pistol, made by Armscor International Inc., a Philippines-based weapons manufacture, was included in the Facebook messaging, the memorandum stated. What remains a mystery, Gill said, is how the stolen handgun ended up in Brooklyn.

“There is a missing piece …," Gill said. “I  think we kind of know how the gun was stolen in Vermont and we have some ideas how it got to New York. It is just a matter of more cooperation and investigative work.” 

While swaps of heroin for guns are not that frequent, it's been happening with more regularity in Vermont, Gill said. In the latest case, the NYPD didn’t seize any heroin but Gill noted that the Vermont state police had charged Stone for drug offenses.

Griffin, who federal prosecutors said had substantial addictions to opiates and cocaine base, has been distributing various drugs for an “extended period of time,” according to court records. 


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos