Mayor Bloomberg, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the indictments of 16 members of two separate gun trafficking networks for selling more than 100 illegal firearms, including assault weapons and machine guns, as well as more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition. The joint investigations were led by the NYPD’s Firearms Investigations Unit and the District Attorney’s Office’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit. The defendants are charged with multiple counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First and Second Degrees, Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, Conspiracy and other related charges. Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly and Manhattan District Attorney Vance were joined by Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt, NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito and NYPD Chief of Organized Crime Control Anthony Izzo at One Police Plaza for the announcement.
“One of the reasons New York is the safest big city in the nation is because we employ every tool available to us – including legislation, litigation and enforcement – to take illegal weapons off of our streets,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This investigation illustrates both the problem of illegal guns being purchased in other states and brought here illegally, and the skill and dedication of the NYPD officers who take the guns off the street often at great risk to themselves. I want to commend those officers, Commissioner Kelly and District Attorney Vance and his outstanding team for their fine work throughout this investigation.”
“It’s unusual to see individuals as old as Mickey Collins still engaged in criminal activity. Regrettably, it’s not unusual for young men to get involved in violent street crews,” said Commissioner Kelly. “We estimate that citywide, crews are responsible for 30 percent of shootings in New York. Fortunately, shootings are down in the city and murder is down 18 percent. We are on track to establish a new record low this year. We’ve accomplished this through proactive policing strategies like Operation Impact. Through Operation Crew Cut – aimed at loosely affiliated groups like those selling guns in this case – we hope to make the city even safer. I want to commend the great work of our Firearms Suppression Division, supported by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, for their outstanding work in this case, including someone we can only refer to as ‘Detective X,’ for the dangerous undercover work that made this case possible.”
“Gun traffickers are bringing violence to our neighborhoods by selling illegal firearms – they are at the root of the problem of gun violence in this City,” said District Attorney Vance. “There have been 127 shooting incidents this year in Manhattan, with 152 victims. Nineteen of those victims were shot to death. Today’s charges speak to the unrelenting commitment by my Office to identify and dismantle the underground networks that give other criminals easy access to handguns, as well as assault weapons and machine guns that are banned in New York state. These are the most significant gun trafficking investigations in Manhattan in recent history, both in terms of the number of illegal gun traffickers taken into custody, and the sheer volume of illegal guns removed from the streets. I applaud the NYPD, particularly the Firearms Investigations Unit, for their investigative efforts in helping to make today’s indictments possible, and the Mayor and the Commissioner for their leadership in the fight against gun violence.”
According to documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court, the defendants are charged as members of two separate gun trafficking networks that operated in East Harlem.
In the first investigation, over the course of 10 months, defendant Dario Wynerman, a/k/a “D,” 21, is charged with selling an undercover police detective a total of 34 firearms. During these purchases, Wynerman introduced the undercover detective to 13 other gun sellers. Wynerman and the other defendants are accused of selling a total of 40 operable firearms, as well as ammunition, to the undercover detective. Five of the firearms sold are assault weapons or machine guns – a TEC-9, a DEC-9, a MAC 10, a .22 caliber assault rifle and RPB fully automatic machine pistol.
In the second case, the same undercover police detective purchased 73 revolvers and semiautomatic pistols, as well as ammunition, from three accused gun traffickers who worked together over the course of the investigation. The principal defendant is Mitchell Collins, 64. The defendants are charged with selling the firearms, often seven or eight at a time, inside the lobby, stairwells, and hallways of a residential apartment building located at 35 East 106th Street. Of the 73 firearms charged in the indictment, at least 11 had originated from other states, including 10 from South Carolina and one from Virginia.
Since its formation in June 2010, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit has worked with the NYPD to remove nearly 500 firearms from the streets of New York City. To date, those gun traffickers charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree – the sale of 10 or more firearms – have either pled guilty to the top count or stood trial.
Assistant District Attorneys Andrew Warshawer and Andrew Mercer are prosecuting the Collins case, and Assistant District Attorneys Christopher Prevost and Matthew McKenzie are prosecuting the Wynerman case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Ryan, Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo, Chief of the Trial Division. Investigative Analysts Charles Collins and Michael LaRusso and paralegal Justin Thornton provided valuable assistance with the case.
Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly and District Attorney Vance thanked NYPD Chief Anthony Izzo of the Organized Crime Control Bureau, Deputy Inspector John Burke, Captain Robert Van Houten, Lt. Thomas McPartland, Sgts. Michael Ingram, Christopher Lawrence and William Sommer, Detectives Douglas Lansing, Christopher Shaugnessy, Richard Ortiz, Angel Morales, Gabriel Narvaez and the undercover detectives of the Firearms Investigations Unit.