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Largest gun seizure in New York City history carried off by lone undercover cop

The investigation in the largest gun seizure in New York City history also involved long-term wiretapping supervised by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

guns These are just some of the 254 guns recovered in the largest gun seizure in New York City history. Credit: Danielle Tcholakian

Top city officials and law enforcement announced today the largest gun seizure on record in New York City history.

Among the 254 gun seized were high-capacity assault weapons, a fully automatic machine gun and many handguns, which are the models most commonly used in violent crimes in New York City.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the opportunity to defend stop-and-frisk, the controversial police practice that has come under scrutiny over the past week after a federal court ruling declared the NYPD's methods of conducting stops unconstitutional and discriminatory.

The mayor said that police stops have produced 8,000 guns.

Furthermore, authorities said that one of the 19 individuals arrested as part of this investigation was heard on a wiretap saying he was too nervous to take the guns to his home in Brownsville, Brooklyn because of stop-and-frisk.

"We got like, whatchamacallit, stop-and-frisk," said Earl Campbell, a South Carolina resident charged with trafficking guns from South Carolina to New York City.

He and another defendant, North Carolina resident Walter Walker, operated independently of one another but used the same broker in Brooklyn to negotiate sales to buyers throughout New York City.

The mayor recently released new data showing that the percentage of guns used in gun crime in the city that came from other states has risen from 85 percent in 2009 to 90 percent in 2011.

North Carolina and South Carolina were second and third, respectively, on the top ten list of states guns used in city crime were traced to in 2011, with 255 guns traced to North Carolina and 251 to South Carolina.

The investigation involved long-term wiretapping supervised by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, but at the heart of it was a single undercover NYPD detective. He met with the now-arrested defendants frequently and purchased hundreds of guns from them, Bloomberg said.

In thanking the many agencies and offices involved in the bust — the Brooklyn and Manhattan District Attorneys, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the NYPD and local law enforcement in South and North Carolina — Bloomberg said New Yorkers owed a special thanks to this undercover officer, though he could not be present at the announcement out of concern for his safety.

"His skill, dedication and bravery once again demonstrates why we call the officers of the NYPD our finest," Bloomberg said.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat

 
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