Two men have been charged for selling some deadly hardware imported from the South in deals conducted out of the parking lot of a Home Depot store in South Ozone Park, prosecutors announced on Friday.
Anthony Black, 33, of Savannah, GA, and Rasheem Greene, 24, of Lake Park, FL, are accused of trafficking weapons purchased in Georgia through what officials call the “Iron Pipeline” to Queens, selling them to undercover officers posing as buyers in clandestine transactions between February 2016 and March of this year. All of the deals were made outside the Home Depot on Rockaway Boulevard near 111th Street, adjacent to Aqueduct Racetrack.
“The so-called Iron Pipeline refers to the Interstate 95 corridor that connects New York City with those southern states that have weak gun laws and which greedy unlicensed gun sellers use to unlawfully bring their deadly wares to New York, putting the lives of honest citizens at risk just to turn an enormous profit,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in announcing the arrests on March 31. “We must remain vigilant in our efforts to keep illegal firearms out of the hands of criminals and off of the streets of Queens County.”
In all, law enforcement sources said, Black and Greene allegedly sold 13 weapons and tried to sell five more to an undercover officer in each of the black market deals; bundles of two to six weapons went for prices between $1,400 and $5,000.
The duo were brought down through a sting conducted by the NYPD Firearms Suppression Section and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigation Bureau. According to law enforcement sources, an undercover police officer communicated with Black through phone calls and text messages, during which Black allegedly agreed to sell various firearms at the Home Depot parking lot.
Each time, prosecutors said, Black arrived at the Home Depot in an apparently rented vehicle. He would bring the firearms to the officer’s vehicle and receive cash in the amount of the agreed-upon price. Black would then return to his vehicle and leave.
The transactions outlined by Brown occurred as follows:
- Feb. 29, 2016, at 2:20 p.m. Black sold the officer two .38-caliber Hi-Point firearms and .38-caliber rounds of ammunition for $1,500.
- April 6, 2016, at 3:55 p.m. Black sold two firearms – a .40-caliber Glock and a .25-caliber Titan firearm – and fourteen .40-caliber rounds of ammunition for $1,400.
- June 30, 2016, at 2:15 p.m. Black sold three firearms – a 9mm Hi-Point firearm, a 9mm Smith and Wesson firearm and a .45-caliber Taurus firearm – and a plastic bag containing 30 rounds of ammunition for $2,550.
- Sept. 26, 2016, at 4:50 p.m. Greene sat inside a vehicle acting as a lookout as Black met with the undercover officer and sold six firearms – a 9mm Kahr Arms firearm, a .38-caliber Cobray firearm, a .22-caliber Browning firearm, a .40-caliber Glock firearm, a 9mm Sig Arms firearm and a .45-caliber Ruger firearm – and assorted rounds of ammunition and magazines for $5,000.
The hammer finally dropped on the illegal gun deals at 12:05 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, at the Home Depot parking lot. Law enforcement sources said that Black had allegedly arranged to sell the officer five weapons. The officer arrived at the location to find Black and Greene sitting in a white Kia Optima with Florida plates. Police took the two men into custody and secured the vehicle.
In doing so, prosecutors said, the officers detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Police later obtained and executed a search warrant of the vehicle, inside of which they found two .40-caliber Smith and Wesson firearms, a .38-caliber Walther firearm, a .45-caliber Hi-Point firearm, a .22-caliber Walther firearm and 25 rounds of .40-caliber ammunition inside a white sack in the trunk. A pouch of marijuana was also found in the front passenger’s seat.
Black and Greene were charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation of the city’s administrative code pertaining to firearms and unlawful possession of pistol or revolver ammunition. They were each ordered held on $750,000 bond or $500,000 cash and to return to court on April 17. Black faces up to 25 years in prison if he’s convicted, while Greene could serve up to 15 years behind bars if found guilty.