Bronx DA: Operation ‘Ghostbusters’ Breaks Up NYC Gun Trafficking Ring
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A pair of investigations by authorities in New York resulted in quite the haul.
The Bronx District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest and indictments of 14 people accused of selling approximately 140 firearms to undercover detectives.
Bronx DA Robert Johnson said that two separate investigations, one of which was nicknamed “Ghostbusters,” was conducted jointly with the New York Police Department.
The weapons recovered included handguns, assault rifles, bulletproof vests and “high capacity ammunition feeding devices.”
The first investigation, which took place from April 2011 through November 2012 ended in the indictment of 10 defendants and the seizure of 54 firearms, the DA said. It also included several weapons that were initially obtained from Ohio, Maryland and other states.
The “Ghostbusters” operation involved an undercover detective purchasing firearms in 33 separate transactions, the DA’s office said. The guns were allegedly purchased from 28-year-old Reinaldo Romero of the Bronx, who authorities said would contact the detective by phone or text message when he had guns to sell.
Court-ordered cell phone wiretaps also played a role in the operation, authorities said.
Romero faces a maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge — criminal sale of a firearm.
The DA said nine others have been charged in separate indictments with various offenses, including Christopher Baez, 32; Elvis Montero, 25; Jose Martinez, 36; Angel Plass, 31; Jonas Acevedo, 23; Thomas Disla, 33; Jessenia Carasquillo, 23; Christina Rodriguez, 28, and Jonathan Torres, 28.
Meanwhile, a second operation, which took place from January 2012 through January 2013 resulted in four arrests and involved the sale of more than 85 firearms, the DA’s office said. The guns in the latter operation were found to be purchased from Georgia and Virginia.
A grand jury indicted Jonathan Torre, Nicholas Todman, 23, and Shavontee Neely, 20.
“At a time when national attention is focused on legislative proposals to address the problem of gun violence, the kind of continued intensive collaboration of law enforcement that has resulted in the arrests and indictments announced today is equally important,” said Bronx DA Johnson.
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