Six people have been indicted on more than 500 separate charges for allegedly transporting and selling firearms to undercover police officers.
Authorities say the accused ringleader, 32-year-old Michael Quick, and several relatives based in Georgia, made more than a dozen trips up the ”iron pipeline” to re-sell guns in New York. In all, the group is accused of conspiring to sell 155 guns, including a variety of automatic weapons, in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn.
At a news conference at police headquarters on Wednesday, investigators said strict guns laws in New York state can entice traffickers to bring in guns from states with lax purchasing laws.
Standing over a table full of seized guns, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said the suspects face stiff penalties if convicted.
"We're going to hold Mr. Quick and his family responsible for dumping these guns on the streets of Brooklyn," Thompson said. He added that there have been 128 shootings so far this year in his borough alone.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said one sale, of 25 guns, was the single largest illegal gun buy by the NYPD in the city's history. Bratton said the case was prompted by a civilian tip.
All together, the suspects are accused of selling more than $126,000 worth of firearms during the seven-month investigation.