NEW YORK (AP/1010 WINS) — A 20-year-old peddled cocaine and dozens of illegal guns to an undercover detective during six months of deals, with the dealer enlisting his half brother to help sell the drug and his girlfriend to stuff three guns into her purse for a sale, police and prosecutors said Tuesday.
Juan Rivas sold a total of 25 shotguns, semiautomatic pistols and other firearms — delivering about half of them loaded — to the detective over the course of 16 meetings in and around New York City this year, authorities said. Rivas also sold the covert officer several ounces of cocaine, they said.
“We have a drug dealer here who decided to set up one-stop shopping and sell guns as well,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Rivas, girlfriend Monica Amador and half brother Emmanuel Agesta pleaded not guilty Tuesday to various charges. Their lawyers’ names weren’t immediately available.
Rivas and Agesta, 30, were being held without bail. Bail was set at $50,000 for Amador, 21. She’s accused of helping Rivas by hiding three firearms in her handbag and bringing them to a bar for a sale.
While New York officials have at times targeted out-of-state gun dealers on the premise that their weapons end up on New York City streets, authorities believe Rivas bought his wares illicitly in the city.
“This investigation revealed a robust internal marketplace in New York for illegal guns,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., standing before a table arrayed with weapons Rivas is accused of selling.
“You can’t underestimate the killing power” of the collection, he said. So far this year, there have been 183 shootings in Manhattan, 33 of them deadly, according to his office.
There has been a growing number of young people accused of possessing loaded weapons in the city, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
Vance said of the 240 people indicted this year, “58 of them…were 18 or younger when arrested.”
The top charge against Rivas carries a potential sentence of up to 25 years in prison if he’s convicted.
Citywide, police have gotten more than 6,000 guns from people this year, through both buyback programs and confiscation, Kelly said.
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