All Six Members of Trafficking Ring Have Pleaded Guilty for Selling 74 Firearms and Ammunition to Undercover Detective
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the sentencing of SAMUEL BARRETO, a/k/a “Scrappy,” 25, to 17 years in state prison, and CARL SMALLS, a/k/a “Unc,” 26, to 15 years in state prison for conspiring to sell 74 firearms and ammunition to an undercover police detective posing as a Manhattan-based gun dealer. BARRETO and SMALLS previously pleaded guilty to the top charge of the New York State Supreme Court indictment against them, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree, as well as Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree. BARRETO additionally pleaded guilty to one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree. MICHAEL AKPAN, a/k/a “Da Don,” MICHAEL RIVERA, TRAYVON SMITH, a/k/a “Trey,” and KEITH HUGHES, a/k/a “OG,” previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the firearm sales.
Manhattan District Attorney Vance said: “In most gun trafficking cases, the majority of firearms originate in Iron Pipeline states. We cannot stem the flow of guns from other parts of the country into New York on our own: we need federal legislation. It is time for Congress to take action.
“This ring is responsible for pumping dozens of deadly, illegal firearms into our City, and its members will serve appropriately lengthy prison terms. With our partners in the NYPD, my Office is doing everything it can to keep illegal firearms out of our communities. From prosecutions like these, to gun buybacks, to educational and preventative efforts like our End Gun Violence Initiative, we are taking a comprehensive approach to combating gun violence in our own backyard.”
According to the defendants’ guilty pleas, court documents, and statements made on the record in court, from approximately January 2014 to August 2015, the defendants sold a total of 74 guns and corresponding ammunition to an undercover NYPD detective posing as a Manhattan-based gun dealer. BARRETO, who introduced the undercover detective to many of the other defendants, sold 39 firearms, including 6 assault weapons. SMALLS sold 37 firearms to the undercover detective, conducting some sales with BARRETO. Additionally, AKPAN and SMITH each sold 4 firearms, HUGHES sold 2 firearms, and RIVERA sold one, each acting in concert with either BARRETO or SMALLS. The majority of sales took place in broad daylight in residential neighborhoods in Harlem and East Harlem, with seven of the 45 total transactions taking place in the Bronx. In all, the defendants received more than $52,000 as a result of the firearms purchases during the investigation.
The investigation was conducted jointly by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit (VCEU) and the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit. VCEU was created in 2010 by District Attorney Vance to lead the efforts of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in combatting gun and gang violence, with a special focus on illegal firearms trafficking within New York City. VCEU has brought 22 indictments against 70 gun traffickers operating between New York City and states including Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Since its creation, VCEU has increased gun trafficking prosecutions by the Manhattan District Office by more than 1,000 percent and conducted investigations that have led to the removal of more than 1,000 illegal firearms from the streets of New York City.
End Gun Violence Initiative
The Manhattan DA’s Office, NYPD, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., and 100 Black Men, Inc. of New York Collected 61 Firearms at This Weekend’s Gun Buyback Event at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem (Photo Courtesy of Diallo Shabazz, 100 Black Men, Inc.)
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office recently launched its first “End Gun Violence Initiative,” a six-week education campaign running through the end of June, which is Gun Violence Awareness Month. As part of the campaign, the Office’s Community Partnerships Unit has hosted eight gun violence prevention and awareness events in partnership with community leaders. The campaign included two gun buybacks conducted in partnership with the NYPD, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., and 100 Black Men, Inc. of New York. In total, more than 140 guns were surrendered in exchange for prepaid gift cards.
Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast handled the prosecution of the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Christopher Prevost, Deputy Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Ryan, Chief of the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit, and Executive Assistant District Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. VCEU Investigative Analysts Rosemary McGuirk, Jonathan Diver, William Andrewes, and Michael Raccioppi assisted with the case.
District Attorney Vance thanked New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, as well as Deputy Inspector Brian Gill, Captain Robert Van Houten, Detectives Bladimir Falette, Angel Melendez, Ivelesse Rodriguez, Douglas Lansing, Christopher Shaughnessy, and the undercover detectives of the NYPD Firearms Investigations Unit.