NEW YORK—On the table were 35 guns that could have ended up on city streets.
Justin Holmes-Austin, 33, and Thomas Solomon, 49, with the assistance of three other suspects, allegedly trafficked and sold a total of 40 firearms to an undercover officer, authorities announced on Jan. 28. The district attorney emphasized that the majority of these weapons made their way up the so-called “Iron Pipeline.”
“We’re here to discuss what is really the most recent work to dismantle drug trafficking groups who have over years flooded our streets of Manhattan with illegal guns,” said District Attorney of Manhattan Cyrus Vance Jr. at NYPD headquarters.
The suspects were charged with a total of more than 70 criminal charges, including the criminal sale of a firearm and conspiracy. All five were held on bail.
However, not all of them are from New York.
Two of the suspects are Georgia residents and allegedly supplied Holmes-Austin and Solomon with the firearms.
“The vast majority of these guns came up from what is referred to as the ‘iron pipeline,’” said the district attorney. “That is, from those states with little or no laws with regard to selling guns.”
Although the guns are from Georgia—a more gun-friendly state than New York—the NYPD said some of the guns sold were stolen. Some were also defaced, while others were new with no trace-data available.
Vance proposed giving a harsher penalty to people who illegally sell over 20 guns. His Gun Kingpin Bill would make the unlawful possession and intent to sell 20 or more guns a Class A-1 felony.
He said that under the current law, a defendant charged with selling 40 guns faces the same 5-year sentence as someone charged with selling 10.