Largest Firearm Bust in NYPD History
Posted: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 at 10:08 am
According to an August 19 announcement from the New York Police Department, 254 guns were seized in the largest firearms confiscation operation in the history of the department. The weapons had been smuggled to the area from North and South Carolina via Chinatown buses and were then sold to undercover officers over the course of several months.
The elaborate, ongoing plot may have inadvertently been revealed by Brooklyn rapper Matthew Best who posted photos of large quantities of cash as well as weapons on his personal Instagram account. Best, together with 18 others were arrested as a result of the firearms bust.
Authorities allege that Best, Earl Campbell and Walter Walker conspired to sell in New York City the guns they transported from the Carolinas in luggage that they placed on cut-rate Chinatown buses.
Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg issued a public statement on the events surrounding the firearms seizure, declaring that lives were undoubtedly saved by the actions of the officers and investigators involved in the operation, and that everyone who helped bring about the arrests deserved the gratitude of the city’s inhabitants.
Early news reports suggest that law enforcement officials possess phone records demonstrating awareness on the part of the firearms sellers from the Carolinas that their guns were destined for New York. One of the New York City investigators remarked on the fact that the gun dealers apparently had no qualms whatsoever about contributing so directly to the violence and danger their actions were sure to cause once their goods reached their northern destination.
New York’s extremely stringent gun sales and possession regulations are likely one of the reasons the smugglers in this case stood to generate such significant profits from their activities. Because it is so difficult to purchase and own firearms in the city, illegal guns can command very high prices.
However, the profitability of this type of smuggling comes with serious risks. The volume of firearms involved in the August bust increases the likelihood that the perpetrators will serve lengthy sentences if convicted. Furthermore, they may also be vulnerable to prosecution on federal charges. If any of the accused happen to have prior felony records, they may also be subject to sentencing enhancements that could put them in prison for an even longer period of time.