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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Four Gun Traffickers Charged with Selling Over 50 Firearms in Brooklyn

This prosecution is the first in New York, and among the first in the country, to charge the gun trafficking provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress and the President enacted in June 2022.

A seven-count indictment was unsealed at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on January 11, charging David Mccann, Tajhai Jones, Raymond Minaya, and Calvin Tabron with allegedly conspiring to illegally traffic more than 50 firearms. Mccann and Minaya are also charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; Mccann is additionally charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute fentanyl.  Mccann, Jones, Minaya, and Tabron were arrested yesterday. 

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Keechant L. Sewell, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD) and Frank A. Tarentino, III, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York Division announced the charges.

“As alleged, the defendants are responsible for attempting to flood the streets of Brooklyn with over 50 deadly weapons, including ghost guns, as well as narcotics, feeding the cycles of gun violence and drug abuse,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “As the first prosecution utilizing new federal legislation in New York, and one of the first in the country, these arrests demonstrate this Office’s commitment to utilize all tools available to more effectively stop gun traffickers from endangering our community.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said: “This groundbreaking legislation is intended to address the sobering reality of the link between guns and drugs; the two biggest public safety threats in New York.  DEA New York and our law enforcement partners are aggressively taking every step to protect communities from gun violence and drug trafficking in order to save lives. I commend the NYPD, ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York on their diligent efforts and collaboration throughout this investigation.” 

“This case, initiated in direct response to complaints from the New Yorkers we serve, underscores some disturbing truths,” stated NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell.  “First, that illegal guns proliferate and circulate in many neighborhoods that still need our help. And second, that every day the women and men of the New York City Police Department perform incredibly dangerous work to prevent these firearms from getting into criminals’ hands.  I commend and thank the NYPD undercover officer who so successfully worked this long-term investigation, all of the detectives with our Violent Crimes Squad, and our invaluable partners at the ATF, the DEA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York for their critical work in helping to get these guns – and these gun traffickers – off our streets.”

As alleged in the indictment and court documents, the defendants engaged in multiple transactions involving the sale of at least 50 illegal firearms in Brooklyn between January 2022 and August 2022. The defendants sold these firearms in broad daylight from vehicles in and around New York City Housing Authority’s Breukelen Houses, which are located across the street from a church and blocks away from a preschool and grade school in Canarsie, Brooklyn. The defendants would often carry the guns they trafficked in whatever they could find, including gloves and shopping bags.

Two members of the gun-trafficking operation obtained the firearms in Virginia and then transported them to New York to be sold on the streets of Brooklyn. Some of the firearms had defaced serial numbers or were made from ghost gun kits, making them harder for law enforcement to trace. Two defendants also engaged in significant narcotics trafficking conspiracies, including a fentanyl distribution conspiracy that introduced thousands of lethal doses of fentanyl into our community. 

The defendants sold the guns and drugs to an undercover officer who recorded many of the transactions. The undercover officer told the defendants that he was a drug dealer who needed guns and that he was also going to resell some of the guns that were provided to him. Despite this knowledge, the conspirators continued to sell large quantities of drugs and guns to the undercover officer without hesitation.

Firearms sold in the conspiracy have also been linked to several shootings in Brooklyn. For example, on June 22, 2022, Minaya sold an undercover officer a Glock 30, .45 caliber handgun.  The investigation revealed that this gun was used in an August 16, 2021 shooting in Bedford-Stuyvesant, during which armed perpetrators shot into a large crowd gathered for a family day celebration. In total, eight individuals were struck by gunfire.  Another gun trafficked by the conspirators—a Glock 43, 9-millimeter caliber handgun—is linked to a December 18, 2021 shooting of an individual in Canarsie, in the blocks surrounding the Breukelen Houses complex. That individual sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his body, including his right hand, shoulder, neck, and the base of his skull.

When agents arrested Minaya in Brooklyn on January 11, he was in illegal possession of two handguns, including one with an extended magazine. The defendant threw one of the guns out a window in an attempt to hide it; both guns were recovered.

This prosecution is the first in New York, and among the first in the country, to charge the gun trafficking provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress and the President enacted in June 2022. The Act is the first federal statute specifically designed to target gun trafficking. Among other provisions, it creates a standalone firearm trafficking conspiracy offense, which the government has charged in this case to hold accountable those who conspire to illegally sell firearms. The Act provides for sentences of up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s International Narcotics and Money Laundering and General Crimes sections.  Assistant United States Attorneys Adam Amir, Irisa Chen, and James Simmons are in charge of the prosecution with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Abiodun Ojo.  The joint investigation was conducted by the Detective Borough Brooklyn South Violent Crimes Squad, under the supervision of Captain Genienne King and Deputy Chief Joseph Gulotta, who is the Commanding Officer of Detective Borough Brooklyn South, and under the overall supervision of NYPD Chief of Detectives James W. Essig.

Read more at the Department of Justice

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