Columbus Men Arrested In New York Gun-Smuggling Bust
More Than 100 Weapons Seized
UPDATED: 7:38 pm EST February 20, 2006
NEW YORK -- Police arrested six people and seized more than 100 weapons in what authorities said was the largest gun-smuggling bust in recent memory.
The six "were the source of scores of guns sold illegally on the streets of New York in the last year," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a news conference Sunday.
In what Kelly said was the largest weapons seizure in his memory, undercover detectives posed as gun buyers to snare the 116 guns over the course of a year. The street value of the weapons was $118,000 -- twice their retail cost.
Though some 72 percent of guns used in New York City crimes come from out of state, where the weapons can often be bought legally, the arrest of four Ohio residents as part of the bust was unusual, Kelly said.
"It's rare to apprehend the out-of-town supplier here," he said, speaking of Douglas Wellington, 25; Amire Smith, 23; Achsah Washington, 21; and Matthew Brown, 19.
"New York is very restrictive. New York City, in particular, is one of the most restrictive jurisdictions in the country. It's only kind of natural that, a handgun in New York City probably didn't come from there, just by default," said Ohio Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Fulkerson.
Ohio does not have statutory restrictions on how many guns a person can purchase, but it is against federal laws for the average person to take guns across state lines in order to sell them.
NBC 4 spoke to the family of one of the accused men, who said that it's hard to believe he could have been selling guns on the streets of New York City.
Smith's sister said that her brother -- an East High School graduate -- is not a gun collector.
"Well, we have went to a range before, but never collections. We usually rent the ammunition. But, never any form of collection or purchasing of weapons that I know of, and that I've ever seen," she said.
Smith's sister said she only knows of recent occasion when her brother went to New York.
"I remember him going, and I asked who he was visiting, and he just said a friend of his friends. But, he didn't spend a lot of time there," she said.
Daniel Awuku, 34, of Brooklyn and Yusef Logan, 31, of Queens, were also among those arrested.
Information was not immediately available on whether any of the six had lawyers.
For some reason these smuggles liked Rugers. Lots of Ruger handguns on the table at the press conference.
Them's some interesting names, and "rent" ammunition, I like that!
I guess ~renting~ ammo is like going to a bar and ~renting~ beer
And the hangover I suppose is equivalent to the empty cases? An all too tangible sign of fun already had.