A 24-year-old North Carolina man was indicted for trafficking guns from North Carolina to New York City, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Tyreke Colon was accused of selling 36 firearms worth more than $ 40,000 to an undercover NYPD officer on three different occasions between February and April this year, officials said. The sales were part of a joint investigation between the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
“Colon had bags full of guns,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said, “and made broad daylight sales in the middle of bustling Manhattan.”
According to investigators, Colon allegedly recruited individuals in Rocky Mount, NC to obtain permits and purchase firearms for him along the “iron pipeline,” the route along the I-95 corridor, where gun traffickers are known to smuggle weapons. After paying them back using CashApp, he traveled to Manhattan, where he sold the weapons to an undercover officer, authorities alleged Tuesday.
Colon was arrested on May 19th near Polo Grounds Towers in Upper Manhattan as he got off a bus from North Carolina in possession of five semi-automatic pistols and an AR-15-style assault rifle, officials said.
“These 42 guns did not get into the hands of gang members, drug dealers, or others who would wreak havoc on our streets,” NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig said at a press briefing Tuesday.
The district attorney said officials were able to map out Colon’s trafficking plan through an eavesdropping warrant, where in one call, he allegedly asked a friend for instructions on how a straw purchaser could get their hands on the necessary permits for the guns.
Colon was indicted in a New York State Supreme Court with more than 40 charges related to the criminal sale of a firearm and criminal possession of a weapon. Attorney information for him was not immediately available.
NYPD statistics showed shootings were down 31% last month compared to May of last year. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell attributed the trend to the NYPD’s focus on gun violence prevention.
“Every day, on all fronts, the NYPD is attacking gun violence,” Sewell said.
Gun arrest figures were at a 28-year-high, statistics showed, and the NYPD has seized more than 3,000 guns this year, Sewell said.
Bragg said his office has prioritized gun trafficking, but other states with less restrictive gun laws posed an ongoing challenge.
“This case illustrates how the iron pipeline continues to pose a direct and immediate threat to the safety of all New Yorkers,” Bragg said in a statement. “While we are fortunate to have some of the toughest gun laws in the country, they are far too often undermined by the easy availability of guns in many other states.”
This article was updated with new quotes from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.