Teens charged with firearms trafficking at Lafayette Gardens
30 Handguns Purchased During Course of 10 Month Operation
Kings County District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson, together with New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, announced Thursday that eight people have been variously charged with selling firearms to undercover officers over the past 10 months during an undercover operation at Lafayette Gardens in Clinton Hill.
Thompson said, “the honest and hardworking people who live in Lafayette Gardens should not have to share their sidewalks with gun dealers, whom we will now hold accountable despite their young ages.”
Bratton said, “This investigation highlights the efforts of the law enforcement community to continue to work together to remove illegal guns from our streets and dismantle young crews who engage in senseless violence.”
Thompson said that the top defendant in the case, Aneudy Cruz, 19, who is charged in connection with 25 of the alleged gun sales, is accused of enlisting, among others, 16 and 17 year-old boys and girls to deliver the handguns to customers, who were in fact the under covers. Cruz, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, was arraigned Wednesday in Brooklyn Supreme Court and ordered held without bail.
The District Attorney said that the investigation, which began in September 2013, included undercover police officers making multiple purchases of weapons, ranging in price from $600 for a Charter Arms Undercover .38 caliber revolver to $800 for a Hi-Point C9 9mm handgun to $1,100 for a Walther PK .380 caliber handgun. The under covers were able to purchase 30 operable guns, often in broad daylight, in the vicinity of Lafayette Gardens, which is bordered by Lafayette, Classon, DeKalb and Franklin Avenues.
The defendants, who were picked up by police yesterday, are variously charged with first-degree criminal sale of a firearm, a B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison; second-degree criminal sale of a firearm, a C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, a D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon a C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. The investigation is continuing and additional arrests are expected.
The investigation was conducted by New York City Police Department Detective Michael Gonzalez and other members of the New York City Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Unit, under the supervision of Captain Robert Van Houten.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Liz Kurtz and Michael Spanakos, of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division, under the supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of Investigations.
The District Attorney noted that on June 26, eight defendants were charged in connection with a narcotics trafficking investigation at Lafayette Gardens conducted by his office and the New York City Police Department.
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