CIVIC CENTER — Investigators busted six people on Friday and seized more than 80 weapons after breaking up an interstate gun trafficking ring that brought weapons from the south into the city up the I-95 "Iron Pipeline," officials announced Monday.
Abdul Davis, 52, sold 82 guns — including assault weapons and handguns — to an undercover NYPD detective posing as a Manhattan-based dealer in Washington Heights after first purchasing them from four dealers in Georgia and Virginia, according to the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
"And then each time, like clockwork, he headed back up I-95 and arranged to make sales to the undercover,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said during a press conference at One Police Plaza.
“And that’s where you get the name ‘Iron Pipeline’ on I-95."
Officials said Davis worked with his girlfriend Shelita Funderberk, 50, out of their home in New Jersey to purchase the weapons from southern dealers Trenton Pointer, 45, Daemon Jenkins, 49, Malik Rainey, 44, and Milton Tillery, 37.
Officials said they were first tipped off to Davis through informants, and the New Jersey man may have been selling weapons for up to 10 years.
The undercover detective first started meeting with Davis on March 16, 2015, in his car at West 166th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, right next to New York Presbyterian Hospital, according to the Manhattan DA.
Davis sold the detective the guns — including 67 pistols, eight revolvers, five assault weapons and two shotguns — during 26 separate transactions, the most recent of which happened on April 19, Vance said.
The New Jersey man usually arranged the sales with the southern dealers through phone calls and text messages and wired money to their accounts before driving to their homes to pick up the weapons, officials said.
“The reason we can charge out-of-state defendants for criminal sale of weapons in New York was from evidence that they knew they were selling weapons to come up to New York State," Vance said.
All six people were charged with conspiracy and criminal sale of a firearm.
They were all awaiting extradition to be arraigned in New York State Supreme Court.
Vance said Monday he was also pushing for the New York State legislature to increase the penalty for selling more than 20 weapons to an A-1 felony, which would carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
“We hope that they’ll take an even stronger stance when we’re dealing individuals who are showing absolutely no regard for life in the city," Vance said. "These guns are not brought up here for show, they’re brought up here to be shot."