NYPD Seizes 250 illegal firearms, Biggest Gun Bust In City History
Authorities today announced the biggest gun bust in city history — an NYPD operation that took down two smuggling rings funneling illegal guns from the South for cheap resale on New York’s streets.
Nineteen thugs were arrested and 254 firearms recovered.
Those busted included two gun runners who oversaw the pair of loosely organized rings and sold their illicit goods through the same city dealer, officials said.
One of the men, Walter Walker, used a rap studio at 1991 Atlantic Ave. in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn as his home base in the city. The undercover police operation had been dubbed “Up on the Hill.’’
Another perp, Earl Campbell, was clearly worried about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics.
He was caught on tape asking a supplier “whether he should hold merchandise where he was [in transit] or bring it back to South Carolina,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
“Campbell didn’t want to risk it being found by New York Police and is heard by police saying, ‘Yea, I’m in Charlotte now. I can’t take them to my house, to my side of town in Brownsville. We got, like, whatchama call it, stop and frisk,’ ” Kelly said.
Kelly also said that last year “detectives learned through an unrelated undercover narcotics investigation that guns were being sold in the Oceanhill community of Brooklyn.”
Above the Country Kitchen restaurant on Atlantic and Saratoga avenues, within the 81st Precinct, they discovered a 26-year-old aspiring rapper, Mathew Best, who lived on Saratoga Avenue. He also used a unit in the same building as a recording studio.
“Best posted several photos of guns and cash on Instagram, and in the video he posted on YouTube, he boasted, ‘Packing more guns than the Air Force,’ ” Kelly said.
Best helped Walker peddle the guns,” authorities said.
Walker “made trips to New York City practically every week and sometimes multiple times a week just to sell guns,” Kelly said.
“There is no doubt that the seizure of these guns – the largest bust in the city’s history – has saved lives,’’ Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. “For that reason, every New Yorker, in every part of our city, owes a debt of thanks to all those involved in this investigation.”
Sources said the bust was due in part to the NYPD’s “pro-active’’ policies such as its controversial stop-and-frisk.
Walker of Sanford, NC, and Earl Campbell of Rock Hill, SC, would bring up their haul to New York on their favorite mode of transportation — cheap buses to Chinatown — and transfer them to Brooklyn-based broker Omole Adedji, authorities said.
The transactions between the men would be swift and extremely profitable, with the guns selling for at least three times their original price, officials said.
The thugs knew they could get a premium for the weapons given New York’s strict gun laws, authorities said. Nearly $160,000 was made on the sale of at least some of the weapons, officials said. Some of the sellers urged the thugs to also sell ammo, with one perp referring to the bullets as “cop killers.’’
One suspect, a 19-year-old one, was busted with a 19mm SKS semiautomatic in her bag. The Manhattan DA’s office and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are involved in the ongoing investigation.
The case is being handled primarily by the city’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.