Gun Trafficking Ring Arrested and Charged For Selling Guns in NYC
Five men are facing gun trafficking charges according to an indictment released by Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
The five men are accused of running a gun trafficking ring that illegally purchased firearms in Knoxville, Tennessee, and sold them in areas in New York City, including Queens and the Bronx.
Two of the accused, Anthony Sanford and Oliver Sanford, are residents of Queens while another two, Jonathan Harris and Thomas Parsley, live in the Bronx. The fifth accused, Richard Horne, is from Knoxville, Tennessee.
Horne, who is said to be formerly a private gun dealer, is alleged to be the main supplier of the gun-running ring while the rest of the accused were illegally dealing, distributing, and re-selling the firearms in various areas of New York City.
The men are facing 1,600 counts including criminal sale and possession of firearms. If found guilty, the accused are looking at possible 50-year jail terms.
“I want to be very, very clear: this case is not about legally purchased firearms held by law-abiding citizens,” Katz said in a press conference Thursday, July 21.
“Illegal gun traffickers who flood our neighborhoods with dangerous firearms put every resident of our borough at grave risk,” said Katz. “We have seen far too many instances of guns, purchased down South and trafficked into New York, that are then recovered at devastating crime scenes, leaving bloodshed and tragedy on our streets. Cutting off the notorious Iron Pipeline supply chain of these deadly weapons is a top priority for my administration.”
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The five accused men were charged after an 11-month investigation titled Operation Hotcakes. The investigation was carried out by NYPD detectives and members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Explosives.
The investigation led to the seizure of 182 illegal firearms as well as nearly 140 high-capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of bullets. NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell was also present at the press conference where a large number of the weapons seized were displayed.
“Building long-term investigations to stop accused gun traffickers from funneling illegal firearms up the Iron Pipeline is one layer of the NYPD’s relentless work to eradicate gun violence in New York City,” Sewell said. “I commend our NYPD detectives and prosecutors in Queens for their sustained focus, in this case, to interdict guns before they hit our streets. This is the work we all must continue — and we will — because the lives of New Yorkers we serve depend on it.”
The illegal guns sell for approximately $1,000 though some may pay double for the firearms according to Brian Gill, a commanding officer of the Firearms Suppression Section. Gill told the Post that the investigation initially began when there was an anonymous tip about guns being sold in the Springfield Gardens neighborhood.
All five men are facing 20 to 50 years in prison.