Brooklyn district attorney Ken Thompson announced on Wednesday the arrest of eight men and women in three states, charged in a 541-count indictment for trafficking guns bought in Atlanta, Georgia, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to be sold in Brooklyn.
The alleged leader of the gang is Michael Bassier, a 31-year-old man from Canarsie, who prosecutors say sold 112 guns, worth $130,050, to an undercover cop over the course of a year—most of the sales took place in a Walgreen’s parking lot in Canarsie.
According to the Associated Press, an undercover NYPD officer infiltrated the ring in 2014 and convinced Bassier he should be the gunrunner’s only customer. In that time, Bassier allegedly took 12 Chinatown busses to Atlanta and six trips by car to Pittsburgh.
“I’m selling them the right way and the wrong way. When I’m out of state, like in Atlanta and Georgia and all that, it’s all legal, but New York, it’s completely illegal. So when I bring (expletive) up here and sell it up here, that’s illegal,” Bassier allegedly said in a wiretapped phone conversation.
In another such conversation, played at a news conference, Bassier bragged, “I need a cab. Listen, I’m walking through Manhattan, right? I’ve got two Mac 10s on me, an SK assault rifle and four handguns and I’m walking through New York.”
At a press conference, the district attorney claimed that around 90 percent of guns recovered from crime scenes in Brooklyn come from the South or states “with lax gun laws,” the New York Times reports. The gun used to kill Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, he said, came from Georgia.
“How many different ways do we have to get to these guns before we wake up as a country?” asked Thompson.