A three-year undercover operation into an illegal gun trafficking ring in southeast Queens netted four indictments and a fifth arrest, according to officials.
The investigation began in August 2009 after the DA’s office received a tip of the illegal operation. Over the next three years agents conducted several undercover transactions with the defendants. Twenty firearms were seized during the investigation.
“We must remain vigilant in our efforts to keep illegal firearms out of the hands of criminals and off of the streets of Queens,” said District Attorney Richard Brown.
The illicit sales regularly occurred in public places during daylight hours, Brown said. Some of the defendants also face charges of selling cocaine.
“One year ago, Det. Peter Figoski was killed by a suspect who wielded an illegal firearm. It is in his legacy and on behalf of New Yorkers’ safety that NYPD investigators work tirelessly to prevent other families from suffering the same fate,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Manuel DeJesus Caballero-Castillo, 24, Emilio Lopez, 38, Miguel Angel Tatis, 50, and Jose Toledo, 26, were indicted on charges of criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of pistol ammunition. If convicted, Tatis faces up to 15 years in prison and the three-co-defendants face up to seven years behind bars. Enrique Ramos was also arrested and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance.
The investigation was conducted by the New York City Police Department’s Queens District Attorney’s Squad.