A long-term investigation has culminated with the indictment of 19 individuals on charges accusing them of trafficking in firearms and attempting to steal $60,000 from five banks in four states, Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a news release.
The firearms were brought from South Carolina to New York, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, adding, “those guns—40 of them—would be on our streets if not for the hard work of investigators.”
Colin “Rum” Toney, 27, sold the guns purchased in his home state of South Carolina to an undercover NYPD detective 19 times between June 2015 and September 2016, according to the indictment.
During the undercover operation, investigators learned Toney had a past affiliation with a city-based set of the Bloods gang, which led them to discover a scheme to defraud banks, Gonzalez said.
Julius “Juju” Salazar, 26, of Far Rockaway, Queens, paid individuals to open accounts at Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Capital One and TD Bank in four states, Gonzalez said. Salazar then arranged for the deposit of bogus checks or wire transfers into the accounts, he said. Withdraws were then quickly made from the accounts before the banks could determine the deposits were fraudulent.
Salazar and his co-conspirators withdrew at least $37,000 in an alleged attempt to steal about $60,000, Gonzalez said.
The indictment names defendants from New York, South Carolina, Georgia and Connecticut. Fifteen were arraigned in Brooklyn over the past week, while four are in custody in Connecticut and Nassau County and will be arraigned soon.
“These indictments are a testament of our resolve to continue going after firearm traffickers, who endanger the safety of our communities for profit, and gang members, who often fund their crimes through larceny and fraud,” Gonzalez said.
Toney and two other South Carolina residents face charges of firearms trafficking. Salazar and 14 other individuals are charged in the alleged bank fraud. Four New York City residents face weapons possession charges.
There was no information available as to whether any of the defendants have obtained lawyers who could comment on the charges in their behalf.