NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A former New York City high school teacher has been busted in an undercover sting. Investigators say he was trying to sell arms overseas to be used against Jews.
In a basement courtroom, there an arraignment for a teacher turned alleged cigarette smuggler turned would-be arms dealer, CBS 2’s John Slattery reports.
“I think they’re trumped up charges at this point,” attorney Michael D’Ambrosio said.
The defendant, 49-year-old Theophilus Burroughs, a former Marine, was also a former music teacher at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan.
It was at the Bronx warehouse where investigators say Burroughs had previously bought hundreds of thousands of untaxed cigarettes, showing up Tuesday to allegedly sell night-vision goggles, bullet-proof vests, and counterfeit cigarette stamps. He reportedly wet his pants when he was arrested at the warehouse. Investigators said he’d previously sold undercover agents a dozen firearms, including AK-47s and other assault rifles.
During those so-called deals, the district attorney said Burroughs wanted the weapons shipped to the Middle East in containers, to go to Hamas.
Burroughs pleaded not guilty to weapons and drug charges.
“If he was supporting terrorism, we wouldn’t be standing here. We’d be in a Federal courthouse,” D’Ambrosio said.
Burroughs allegedly had a gun connection in South Carolina and allegedly boasted that he could build grenades and get fertilizer for bombs.
Burroughs was one of 15 defendants indicted in the year-long undercover investigation of illegal cigarettes and guns.