LaGrange family smuggled $150K worth of guns into New York, poli - WNCN: News, Weather

LaGrange family smuggled $150K worth of guns into New York, police say

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BROOKLYN, NY - The NYPD calls it the single largest illegal gun buy in department history.

They named it “Operation Lucky Seven," named after the suspected ring leader, Michael Quick of LaGrange. Police say Quick was caught after he sold the guns to an undercover NYPD officer. Quick made 13 trips from Georgia to New York and smuggled as many as 25 guns at a time, according to authorities. Officials say the firearms, many of which were loaded at the time of the sales, included an AR-15, a MAC-11, two TEC-9 automatic weapons and 151 varieties of pistols and revolvers.

“Guns sold illegally find their way into the hands of criminals and often destroy lives. This family of gun traffickers did not hesitate to distribute illegal guns in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, but thanks to the hard work of the investigators and prosecutors involved, this pipeline of firearms has been shut down,” said New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton in a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

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Officials say Quick's wife, Aaliyah Camille Dowell, and two uncles, Rodney Cantrell Brewer and Albert Ellis Pless, helped with the operation. Emmanuel Caswell and Marcus White are also charged with conspiring with Quick to collect the firearms in and around Georgia and to wire monies from New York.

“Our joint investigation with the NYPD has put an end to a major gun trafficking operation that brought illegal firearms to Brooklyn from Georgia. The apparently easy accessibility of these weapons threatened the safety and security of our Brooklyn communities. We will remain vigilant in the fight against the trafficking and sale of illegal guns,” said District Attorney Ken Thompson.

Officials say the motive was to make money. It’s cheaper to buy a gun in Georgia because of New York’s gun restriction laws. A $200 handgun bought in Georgia, could be resold in Brooklyn for $1000, according to officials.

"Firearms in the New York market would fetch a much higher price because of all the additional regulatory hurdles that gun dealers have to deal with," Georgia State Senator Josh McKoon tells News 3.

McKoon says despite the opportunity for profit, Georgia's gun laws do not inherently encourage gun trafficking.

"I think you're going to have bad actors who attempt to violate federal firearms law every day," said McKoon.

Quick, Brewer and Dowell are currently in custody in Kings County, New York. Caswell, Pless and White are currently in custody at the Troup County Jail awaiting extradition on arrest warrants generated by the indictment.

David Hurst

David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, focuses on how your tax dollars are being spent.
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