DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN – Cops seized more than 150 weapons, including a high-powered machine gun one of which was allegedly used in the killing of a 35-year-old man in Canarsie, after busting three separate Brooklyn gun trafficking groups in undercover stings.
The arsenal, which included shotguns, assault rifles and a Sten machine gun, were sold to undercover officers starting in 2011 during three separate investigations into traffickers working out of East Flatbush, Crown Heights and Bushwick and were concealed in guitar cases in some instances.
“The dangers that illegal guns pose on our streets simply can not be overstated,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes during a Thursday press conference in Downtown Brooklyn. “Sadly, we are all too familiar with instances where innocent people, and even children, are injured or killed when criminals fire their guns in on a city.”
The first investigation centered on 24-year-old David “Juice” Augustine, who allegedly sold 51 guns on 29 occasions to an undercover officer in East Flatbush.
Augustine allegedly concealed pistols, shotguns, assault riles and semi-automatic handguns in soft-shell guitar cases when making sales during the day on and around Flatbush Avenue, officials said.
Police also arrested Richard James, 20, who allegedly was involved in one of the 29 sales with Augustine.
In the second investigation, detectives bought a total of 87 weapons from 25-year-old Kerwin “Trini” Gobin in Crown Heights.
Gobin allegedly sold an undercover officer the Sten machine gun, which is capable of firing 550 rounds per minute, along with pistols, revolvers and assault rifles.
Police also arrested six other people who they say supplied Gobin with firearms: Hassan Pasha, Yolanda Samuel, Stewart Hamilton, Travain Hillaire, Claude Laguerre and Chris Salikram.
Another man, Kenneth Marshall, was also arrested for allegedly supplying Gobin with stun guns.
The third undercover operation netted Bushwick resident Henky Martinez, 34, who allegedly sold 16 guns to an undercover detective. Martinez would text or call the agent whenever he had guns to sell, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.
Police are still tracing where many of the weapons originated from but they said at least one of each came from states including South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Alabama and Maryland.
Six of the weapons were used to commit crimes in the city, officials said, including the 2010 homicide and two other shootings where somebody was injured.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly talked about the dangers of this type of detective work.
“In taking these guns off the streets police officers put themselves at tremendous risk,” said Commissioner Kelly. “This is the most dangerous work in all of law enforcement.”
Augustine, Gobin and Martinez all face up to 25 years in prison.