Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton today announced the indictments of 10 men who allegedly trafficked 50 firearms from out of state for sale to an undercover NYPD detective in the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.
District Attorney Clark said, “These defendants allegedly sold 50 weapons, and some conspired to bring in 30 more guns to feed their greed at the expense of life and safety in the Bronx. A week before Christmas, they allegedly delivered one of the firearms to the undercover detective gift-wrapped. These instruments of death were just ordinary merchandise to them.
“This case shows, once again, how guns purchased legally in other states can end up on our streets in the hands of criminals. It also highlights the courage and tenacity of our NYPD officers, and I want to thank the Firearms Investigation Unit and specifically the detectives who risked their lives each time they purchased a gun from these defendants.”
“The trafficking of illegal firearms into New York City is a quick way to attract the full attention of the New York City Police Department,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton. “The undercover detectives who went into harm’s way during this investigation demonstrated a commitment to protecting the public safety. I commend the investigators of the NYPD’s Firearms Investigations Unit and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, whose tenacity in following the evidence resulted in the seizure of more than 50 weapons from the Highbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.”
District Attorney Clark said the defendants are charged with first-degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm, second-degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm, third-degree Criminal Sale of a Firearm, second-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon, third-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Conspiracy. If convicted of the top charge, five of the defendants face up to 25 years in prison.
Seven of the defendants were due to be arraigned today before Bronx Supreme Court Justice Ethan Greenberg. They are due back in court on August 4, 2016. Three others are awaiting extradition.
The investigation dubbed “Operation Straight Outta Highbridge” began nearly a year ago and uncovered networks of gun traffickers operating in Highbridge, just north of Yankee Stadium.
According to the indictments, defendants Marvin Guzman (“Cuba”) and his brother, Melwin Guzman (“MG”), who both live in an apartment building at 101 West 165th Street, allegedly headed an operation that trafficked semi-automatic pistols of all calibers, as well as a WASR-10, an AK-47-style assault rifle.
According to the indictment, their cousins, Kelvi Acosta (“Kev”) and Miguel Paredes, both of Allentown, Pennsylvania, allegedly transported firearms from outside of New York State for sale in the Bronx. David Dippre allegedly was one supplier who purchased firearms from gun stores in Pennsylvania that were transported to the Bronx by Paredes. In total this group was responsible for the sale of 40 guns to an undercover.
In March, 2016, a wiretap was authorized and, according to the indictment, Marvin Guzman allegedly began plotting with Ahmed Khan, a former Bronx resident living in Katy, Texas, to purchase and transport an additional 30 firearms from Texas. In May, Khan arranged a meeting in Texas between Marvin Guzman and a gun supplier, described as a gang member.
Just before the deal was to take place, the NYPD arrested the Guzmans and Acosta in the Bronx, after the Guzmans were stabbed on July 6 in an incident unrelated to the case.
The second group of gun traffickers consisted of Joseph Mincey, a resident of Brunswick, Georgia, who allegedly transported seven firearms from Georgia to Bashiri (“Bash”) Thompson, a Highbridge resident who allegedly sold them in the Bronx to an undercover.
Two other Bronx residents are charged and awaiting arraignment.
The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Boyle and Vladimir Kocheulov of the Criminal Enterprise Bureau, under the supervision of James Goward, Chief of the Criminal Enterprise Bureau; Tarek A. Rahman, Chief of the Special Investigations Unit; Stuart P. Levy, Deputy Chief of the Investigations Division, and Jean T. Walsh, Chief of the Investigations Division.
District Attorney Clark thanked Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, Assistant Chief James Essig, Deputy Inspector Brian Gill, Captain Jonathan Korabel, Lt. Thomas McPartland, Sgt. Matt Griffin, and Detectives Douglas Lansing and Chris Shaughnessy. She also thanked the Brunswick, GA Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police for their assistance in the case.