Five Men Arrested for Selling Illegal Guns and Drugs, Officials Say
QUEENS — Five men have been arrested for selling illegal guns and drugs on the streets of Queens, law enforcement authorities said Thursday.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly that four of the suspects were indicted for trafficking the weapons and drugs in Jamaica; a fifth man was arrested for criminal sale of controlled substance, authorities added.
The following suspects were indicted on 66 counts of second- and third-degree criminal sales of firearms to third-degree sale of a controlled substance: Manuel DeJesus Cabellero-Castillo, 24; Emilio Lopez, 38; Miguel Angel Tatis, 50; and Jose Toledo, who is 26 years old.
If convicted, Tatis faces up to 15 years in prison, while his three co-defendants face up to seven.
Enrique Ramos, 44, was also arrested, though not indicted, on charges of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; he faces up to nine years in prison if convicted.
Brown said the group conducted the transactions over the last three years and charged between $500 and $2,400 for each of the 20 weapons it sold.
Brown and Kelly said the four gun runners were bold enough to conduct most of the deals between noon and 5 p.m. in spaces as public as street corners.
“We must remain vigilant in our efforts to keep illegal firearms out of the hands of criminals and off of the streets of Queens,” Brown said in a statement.
Kelly referenced the death of Det. Peter Figoski, a 22-year NYPD veteran who was fatally shot last December, as a prime example of the need to crack down on illegal guns.
“Through strategic enforcement, vigilance, and this and other partnerships with the Queens District Attorney, including joint gun buy-back programs, New York City police are doing everything they can to keep guns out of criminal hands,” Kelly said.
Brown said the gun trafficking investigation began in August 2009 when narcotics detectives got wind of the suspects and set up a sting operation.
The defendants unknowingly sold the weapons to undercover agents on three separate occasions, including one time in a Staples parking Lot.
In addition to the weapons and drug accusations, the defendants also face ammunition possession charges.