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Bloomberg reveals largest gun seizure ever in New York











Bloomberg reveals largest gun seizure ever in New York

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that his administration has successfully carried out the largest gun seizure in the city’s history.

At a Monday morning press conference, Mayor Bloomberg and Police  Department Commissioner Ray Kelly announced that authorities in  New York have managed to indict and arrest 19 individuals  believed responsible for running an illegal gun pipeline from  North and South Carolina to NYC along the Interstate 95 corridor.

As the result of an undercover investigation, Bloomberg said city  officials netted the largest gun bust ever to come out of New  York, collecting more than 250 illegal firearms, including high  capacity assault weapons, a fully automatic machine gun and guns  that are commonly used in violent crimes across the city.

There is no doubt that the seizure of these guns has saved  lives,” Mayor Bloomberg said at the press conference. “New  York City, I’m happy to say, is the safest big city in the  nation. We’re continuing to make our city even safer.”

Commissioner Kelly said the firearm pipeline was discovered last  year as the result of an unrelated narcotics investigation  targeting an operation thought to be trafficking drugs out of  Brooklyn. That probe led investigators to a 26-year-old aspiring  rapper, Matthew Best, who recorded songs from an Ocean Hill,  Brooklyn recording studio in which he boasted of “packing more  guns than the Air Force.”

Once Best was brought onto the police’s radar, law enforcement  linked him to 29-year-old Walter Walker of Sanford, South  Carolina. Walker, according to police, purchased stolen guns  cheaply in North and South Carolina, and then took a discounted  bus to New York City where he sold them with the assistance of  Best. In one instance, police said, Walker carried as many as 14  guns in his luggage while he took public transportation from  North Carolina up to New York.

Those who were selling the guns to Walker knew they were  intended for distribution in New York, and they knew that the  guns were illegal in New York,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor  Bridget Brennan said at the presser.

Police say that 11 of the nearly 60 gun buys occurred at the  Ocean Hill recording studio, and that 254 firearms in total were  obtained by an undercover officer who was on the receiving end of  58 exchanges in less than a year.

Walker “had no shortage of supply or suppliers,” Kelly  said, “so the NYPD made sure it was Walker’s only New York  customer.”

From last September through this July, the undercover agent  purchased 116 guns from Walker, most of which came fullu loaded,  according to authorities. Through those interactions, the  undercover officer also befriended 23-year-old Earl Campbell of  Rock Hill, South Carolina, who before long began bringing  firearms up to New York via the so-called “Chinatown bus”   service.

Police say they relied on court-authorized wiretaps to monitor  their suspects, and in one conversation learned that Campbell was  concerned that the “stop and frisk” tactics used by the NYPD  posed a large risk of being apprehended with contraband. New York  officials are currently appealing a federal ruling that last week  mandated the NYPD the reform its policies.

I think generally it’s believed by law enforcement people  that without this tactic, the bad guys would feel a lot more  comfortable in carrying guns,” Mayor Bloomberg said early  Monday. “They carried guns before. They aren’t carrying guns  now,” he added, “Common sense says that if you run a risk  of getting stopped, you’re going to pay more attention to what’s  in your pocket.”

In all, police were able to indict 19 individuals linked to  either Walker or Campbell for their alleged involvement in gun  trafficking. Walker was charged with conspiracy along with six  others, and faces more than 250 counts, including three counts of  a criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree. Campbell has  been indicted on more than 200 counts as well.

Bloomberg, whose third and final term as New York mayor will  expire early next year, has long advocated for gun control. In  2006 he co-founded the Mayors Against Illegal Guns national,  bipartisan coalition, which today boasts more than 1,000  representatives from 46 states. Mayor Bloomberg personally  invested $3 million into the campaign, which he says brings those  city leaders together to fight crime with “a belief that we  can do more to stop criminals from getting guns while also  protecting the rights of citizens to freely own them.”

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