According to officials, a gun-smuggling ring that transported high-powered weapons from states as far away as Ohio to New York City has been dismantled by agents. They recovered over 100 illegal firearms, including 20 assault rifles that were deemed deadly.
According to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, law enforcement officials have seized an alarming stash of 139 high-capacity magazines and hundreds of rounds of ammunition that were intended for city streets and playgrounds. The arrests of three suspects have been made in connection with the takedown.
During a press conference where the weapons were showcased, Katz stated that they were putting all their efforts and resources into combating the issue of gun violence. “We are fighting the gun plague with all our might and resources, on the streets and in the courts,” he emphasized. While the city and Queens have seen a 28% and 34% decrease in shootings in 2023, respectively, it does little to console the more than 1,000 individuals who have fallen victim to gun violence in the city this year.
Ahmed “Taju” Mutalib, Abdul Haruna, and Murtala Haruna, who are all related as cousins, have been arrested and charged with a total of 575 counts. The charges include criminal sale of firearms, criminal possession of weapons, conspiracy, and money laundering. A grand jury has indicted them for these offenses.
On November 9th, both individuals will return to court and could potentially face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Katz revealed that in March, the DA’s office and the NYPD received a confidential tip about the trafficking activity, as per investigators.
Over a period of seven months, law enforcement officials used wiretapping and undercover purchases to link the suspects to a trafficking scheme that transported firearms and ammunition from the Midwest through the infamous “Iron Pipeline.”
According to officials, the cousins were caught discussing the acquisition, transportation, and sale of multiple firearms on tape. Investigators stated that they observed Murtala Haruna and Mutalib exiting a Cincinnati townhouse with sizable boxes, which they loaded onto a U-Haul vehicle as part of a scheme they had previously discussed over several phone conversations regarding the sale of firearms.
According to officials, the inquiry consisted of a sequence of covert purchases in the parking lot of a P.C. Richard & Son store in Astoria.
A recent federal study has revealed that a staggering 93% of firearms used in criminal activities within New York City are sourced from out of state. This figure is three times higher than the national average and highlights the significant role that interstate gun trafficking plays in the city’s crime rates. The study sheds light on the urgent need for stricter gun control measures to prevent the influx of illegal firearms into New York City and mitigate the devastating effects they have on communities.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has found that the majority of firearms used in crimes within New York City are sourced from southern states with lenient gun laws.
According to data from the ATF, the number of out-of-state guns used in criminal activities in New York City is significantly higher than any other city, with Baltimore coming in at second place with 61% of guns used in crimes being sourced from out of state.
According to Edward Caban, the Commissioner of the NYPD, the recent gun bust has brought to light some concerning realities.
In his statement, he highlighted the alarming spread of illegal guns in various neighborhoods that are still in dire need of help. He also emphasized the courageous efforts of the NYPD personnel who risk their lives every day to keep these firearms away from the hands of criminals.
Mutalib, who hails from Decatur, Georgia, is 32 years old. Meanwhile, Abdul Haruna, who was born and raised in the Bronx, is 27 years old. Murtala Haruna, on the other hand, comes from Cincinnati and is 30 years old.