By Jake Pearson
A Georgia man, his wife and other family members have been charged with selling 155 guns, including an AR-15 assault rifle and other automatic weapons, transported in road trips up the Interstate 95 corridor over seven months to an undercover police officer in Brooklyn, authorities announced Wednesday.
Michael Brewer Quick, 32, of LaGrange, was one of six charged in a 558-count indictment with selling more than $126,000 worth of firearms bought or stolen in Georgia, including one sale of 25 firearms in a suitcase for $20,000, by far the single largest illegal gun buy in New York Police Department history, said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson at a news conference.
"We are going to hold Mr. Quick and his family responsible for dumping these guns on the streets of Brooklyn," Thompson said.
Quick was arrested April 17 after selling 15 handguns worth $12,000 to the undercover officer on a street corner in the borough's Canarsie section, Bratton said.
His attorney didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.
In addition to the 151 handguns, authorities said, Quick and his co-defendants sold an AR-15 assault rifle and TEC-9 and MAC-11 automatic weapons.
The average price for a handgun sold by Quick was $800, nearly double the price of traffickers in previous investigations, Bratton said. A $200 handgun bought in Georgia could be resold for $1,000 in Brooklyn, prosecutors said.
The case, which Bratton said was initiated after community members in Brooklyn tipped off investigators, was an example of what authorities in New York say is a constant effort to damper a firearms black market that's supplied by weapons acquired in the South and sold for many times the original price.
While New York has some of the nation's strictest gun-control measures, law enforcement here is often frustrated by lax ownership and tracking laws in Southern states, where gun restrictions are looser.
"I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any changes in the laws in those states," Bratton said Wednesday. "That is what it is and we deal with the impact of it."