Three individuals face prices in reference to their roles in an alleged gun trafficking ring working out of Queens and Suffolk counties that illegally offered 47 firearms, Lawyer Common Letitia James and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force mentioned on Thursday.
The 438-count indictment, unsealed in Queens County Supreme Courtroom, charged Suffolk County residents Devon Smith-Martin and Fritz Pierre-Louis, in addition to South Carolina resident Hakeem Solomon, with trafficking quite a few “ghost guns”” in New York and Pennsylvania. Their lawyer info was not instantly out there.
The fees have been a results of a six-month joint investigation involving James’ workplace and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which alleged that Smith-Martin and Pierre-Louis ordered the ghost gun elements from out-of-state on-line retailers to an deal with in Pennsylvania. Smith-Martin would then site visitors the components and equipment to New York for meeting and sale, officers mentioned.
“I will not allow our streets to be flooded with ghost guns, assault rifles or other weapons of war,” James mentioned. “Giving criminals easy access to illegal and untraceable guns is a threat to all New Yorkers and a danger that my office will not tolerate. High-capacity ammunition magazines and rapid-fire modification devices can easily turn firearms into mass-murder machines.”
In whole, the investigation led to the restoration of 57 firearms, 51 of which have been ghost weapons together with assault weapons, machine weapons and semiautomatic pistols, James mentioned.
Legislation enforcement officers name do-it-yourself firearms just like the one which Smith-Martin and Pierre-Louis, and Solomon have been promoting ghost weapons as a result of they’re often offered in components and usually not marked with a serial quantity, making them tough to trace. Final yr, New York handed two legal guidelines made it unlawful for anybody apart from a licensed gunsmith to own or promote a ghost gun or unfinished firearm components in the state.
Earlier this yr, James ordered dozens of shops to cease advertising and marketing and promoting ghost weapons to New Yorker. Each she and Mayor Eric Adams have sued a number of corporations accused of illegally promoting gun components. Just a few retailers have already settled these lawsuits and agreed to cease doing enterprise with New York Metropolis residents.
The three defendants have been charged with varied counts of prison sale of a firearm, prison sale of a ghost gun, prison possession of a weapon, and conspiracy for his or her participation in the unlawful gun trafficking operation, authorities mentioned.
“Today’s charges show that some criminals believe they can operate with impunity, in plain sight — the NYPD and our law enforcement partners exist to shatter that notion,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell mentioned in a press release. “I commend and thank everyone involved in this extremely important joint investigation. And I assure New Yorkers that our combined efforts will remain precisely focused on holding fully accountable anyone who peddles illegal guns on our streets.”
The investigation was a part of an effort by varied New York officers and companies to crackdown on the distribution of unlawful firearms over the past
Samantha Max contributed reporting.