November 7, 2023

USA: 3 Arrested In Undercover Sting Operation In Connection To A Queens Gun Trafficking Ring From Cincinnati, Ohio. Man Arrested $10 Million In Drugs And Guns Seized From Abandoned Queens Home.


FOX 5 New York published November 6, 2023: 3 charged in Queens gun-trafficking bust. Authorities in Queens say a undercover sting operation led to the arrest of three people in connection to an alleged gun trafficking ring. FOX 5 NY's Antwan Lewis has the story.

NBC News
written by Marc Santia
Monday November 6, 2023

Three members of the same family were arrested and face hundreds of counts of gun trafficking after a major bust in Queens turned up more than 100 illegal firearms, including assault weapons, according to the district attorney.

A seven-month investigation led by the NYPD Firearms Investigation Unit and the Queens DA’s office netted 109 guns in all, including what Captain Jeffrey Heilig said were “76 nine-millimeters, two of which are ghost guns; 10 forty-calibers; two 45-calibers, two 380-calibers, 16 rifles and three shotguns.”

The suspects — Ahmed “Taju” Mutalib, Abdul Haruna, and Murtala Haruna, all of whom are cousins — were indicted by a grand jury on 575 counts, charging them with criminal sale of a firearm, weapon possession, conspiracy and money laundering.

Police were tipped off to the alleged trafficking through a confidential tip in March, Katz said. In addition to the 20 assault weapons, there were 139 high-capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The investigation included a series of undercover buys in an Astoria parking lot and a wiretap on the suspects’ phones, DA Melinda Katz said. One undercover NYPD cop purchased 96 of the guns in controlled buys. Once law enforcement found out the alleged gun suppliers might expand their business overseas, they immediately brought the case to a close and made arrests.

Now the weapons are in the hands of the NYPD instead of on the street, where the alleged sellers thought they were heading.

“All these deadly weapons, they all come from one source: Three defendants that we now have in custody. They have been indicted,” Katz said. “This much lethal firepower in the hands of people on the street — I can’t even imagine how many lives were saved with this takedown.”

Several of the buys went down in the same Astoria parking lot where the undercover agent “put himself in danger” to make the purchases, Katz said.

The case took investigators from Cincinnati, Ohio, to New Jersey, and ultimately New York.

“The detectives witnessed two of the defendants coming out of a townhouse in Cincinnati, Ohio, carrying large boxes to a U-Haul truck. The activity corresponded directly to subsequent phone calls about transporting these guns,” the DA said.

The NYPD caught up to the suspects in Staten Island on Sept. 8, after 32-year-old Mutalib and 30-year-old Murtala Haruna were tracked by police driving a rented vehicle with a Florida license plate through New Jersey to New York. A search warrant was executed on the vehicle, which resulted in the arrest of those two suspects. Abdul Haruna, 27, was arrested on Nov. 2.

“A case of this magnitude sends a message to any would be gun trafficker that the NYPD is watching and there is no limit to the span of our investigation,” said Capt. Heilig.

Attorney information for the three men was not immediately available. If convicted the trio could spend up to 25 years in prison. Their next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 9.

“We have seen shootings in 2023 decline 28% in the city and 34% in Queens. That is of little comfort, however, to the more than 1,000 victims of shootings across the city this year,” Katz said in a press released. “Through investigations, arrests and prosecutions, we will continue to do everything we can to shut the Iron Pipeline down once and for all.”

Eyewitness News ABC7NY published November 1, 2023: Millions in drugs and guns seized from abandoned Queens home. Joe Torres reports on the massive drug and guns bust in Queens, NY.

NBC4 News, New York local
written by Staff
Friday November 3, 2023

A 43-year-old man is facing a whopping number of charges after more than $10 million worth of drugs and a cache of guns were found in an abandoned Queens home, the local district attorney's office said.

Victor Rodriguez was arraigned Oct. 27 on a 112-count indictment charging him with, among a litany of crimes, operating as a major trafficker; three counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree; four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree; four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree; 26 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree; 10 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree; 12 counts of aggravated criminal possession of a weapon; 39 counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree; manufacture, transport, disposition and defacement of weapon and dangerous instruments and appliance; five counts of attempted criminal possession of a firearm; and unlawful possession of pistol ammunition, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Wednesday.

If convicted, Rodriguez faces 25 years to life in prison. He is ordered to return to court on Nov. 6. Attorney information was not immediately known.

The long list of crimes stems from the discovery of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine and a stockpile of firearms in an abandoned house after a contractor stumbled upon the illegal stash in May when they were hired due to the recent sale of the property located on 88th Road.

The contractor took photos of the discovery and alerted police, who searched the residence and allegedly discovered eight kilograms of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine and 1.5 million glassine envelopes containing heroin or a mix of heroin and fentanyl. The drugs, according to prosecutors, had a street value between $10 million and $11 million. Additionally, several handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were found.

Through the investigation, it was determined that after the contractor left, Rodriguez was allegedly seen on surveillance video going to and from the property with two coolers that appeared to have held 15 kilos of drugs, the district attorney's office said.

Following a search warrant of the property obtained for the day after the discovery, authorities allegedly uncovered the following:
  • Around 1.5 million glassine envelopes containing either heroin or heroin and fentanyl with a street value of about $10 million;
  • Eight kilos of cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl with a street value of about $500,000;
  • At least one plastic bag with a mixture of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine and the opioid pain medicine tramadol;
  • Thousands of empty glassine envelopes;
  • Three kilo presses often used by drug traffickers to package large quantities of drugs;
  • Two respirator masks used in the production and packaging of illegal narcotics;
  • Two electronic scales;
  • Five loaded P80 9 mm ghost gun semiautomatic pistols;
  • One loaded 9 mm Derringer semiautomatic pistol;
  • One loaded .38-caliber revolver;
  • One loaded Glock 17 9 mm semiautomatic pistol;
  • One loaded Sig Sauer 9 mm pistol;
  • One loaded .38-caliber Derringer semiautomatic pistol;
  • One loaded Smith and Wesson 9 mm semiautomatic pistol;
  • One loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol;
  • Five complete ghost gun kits, including unfinished frames that had not yet been made into operable firearms;
  • 25 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices;
  • Over 200 rounds of assorted ammunition including 9mm, .40 caliber, and .38 caliber;
  • A handheld Dremel drill, used to manufacture and/or assemble ghost guns;
  • A DVR digital recorder; Four cellphones;
  • Two parking summonses for a Blue Infiniti SUV that were tied to Rodriguez.
“One can’t even calculate how many lives would have been cut short or ruined by the millions of dollars worth of lethal narcotics and deadly weapons that were found. What we do know for certain is that our families, friends and neighborhoods are all safer thanks to this massive seizure," Katz said.

Meanwhile, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban shared similar sentiments.

“The NYPD and our law enforcement partners will never waver in our commitment to rid our city of illegal narcotics and the traffickers responsible for putting New Yorkers’ lives at risk," Caban said.

No comments: