Undercover cops say they broke up a gun-running ring along the Eastern Seaboard that resulted in the largest seizure of illegal firearms in New York City's history. Authorities say suspects smuggled the weapons in luggage on low-fare Chinatown buses bound for the Empire State from South Carolina and North Carolina.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, trumpeted the news in a press conference earlier today.
“Police seized 254 illegal guns and indicted 19 people, Bloomberg said,” according to USA Today. “The weapons included high-capacity assault weapons, a fully automatic machine gun and handguns, which are most typically the models of guns used to commit violent crimes."
Of the 19 arrested in New York, North Carolina and South Carolina was Earl Campbell, 24, of Rock Hill. Campbell is accused of personally running guns from South Carolina to New York City. South Carolina's lax gun laws were mocked earlier this year in a headline in The Onion.
Here's Bloomberg calling out South Carolina in that regard during his news conference:
"Two of the top sources for gun crimes in New York are North Carolina and South Carolina. In fact they are currently ranked number two and three respectively, and today is a perfect illustration of that. Year after year guns flow into our city from states that don't have common sense gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of criminals. North and South Carolina, for instance, still have weak laws that allow criminals and traffickers to easily buy guns."
“The 19 were charged with crimes including conspiracy, selling firearms and weapons possession in a 552-count indictment filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor,” reports The Wall-Street Journal. “The indictment centers on 208 guns that were sold for nearly $160,000.”
Back in March, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley lent his voice to Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns group, saying, “I joined the coalition because it's what our citizens want. It's what police chiefs want, what Chief Mullen wants, what the law abiding people in America want."
Part of the news involving Campbell, the South Carolina man caught up in the sting, is likely additionally welcome to Mayor Bloomberg. The Rock Hill resident who also apparently had a place in Brownsville, Brooklyn, appeared worried about New York City's controversial stop-and-frisk policy. Though Bloomberg supports it, the policy recently suffered a setback when a federal judge deemed it unconstitutional.
Here's what the NYP says Campbell allegedly told an associate on a wiretap when asked if he was in the Palmetto State or New York, according to the International Business Times:
"Yeah, I'm in Charlotte now. I, I can't leave until you come 'cause I can't take them…to my house, to my side of town 'cause I'm, umm, I'm in Brownsville. So we got, like, we got like, umm, uh, whatchamacallit, stop and frisk.”