More than 20 defendants were charged with running an interstate gun-trafficking ring that flooded 217 weapons into New York City, the Wall Street Journal reports. The 24 suspects, many tied to the Bloods gang in New York and Virginia, legally bought most of handguns, rifles and Tommy guns in Virginia and transported them to New York City by car or bus, said acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. The suspects sold the 217 guns to one New York undercover officer during an eight-month investigation. The officer paid between $800 and $1,200 for each handgun and $1,800 to $2,200 for assault weapons, with the haul totaling about $220,000.
“These defendants, many of them with violent criminal histories, make money by bringing deadly weapons from Virginia into our communities so they can pay for fancy clothes and jewelry,” Gonzalez said. New York police recorded just under 1,000 shootings in 2016, the fewest in the city since the early 1990s. Still, Gonzalez said most of the shootings in Brooklyn involved guns from out of state. In an audio recording, a defendant is heard boasting about gun trafficking and mocking Virginia’s gun laws to another man. “In Virginia, our laws are so little we can give guns away,” a man is heard saying. “When you hear a trafficker boasting about the weak gun laws in Virginia, it is crystal clear that this needs to be addressed,” Gonzalez said. A spokesman said VA Gov. Terry McAuliffe supports tighter gun regulations, including closing a “gun-show loophole” that allows people deemed unfit to buy guns in stores to purchase weapons at gun shows.