Undercover stings net 11 indictments, 154 firearms

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly on Thursday announced the indictments of 11 people and the seizure of 154 firearms resulting from three separate undercover operations going back to 201l.

“While New York City remains the safest large city in America, incidents of gun violence continue to plague our communities,” said Hynes. “The number of shootings in New York demonstrates clearly the need to keep illegal guns off the streets.”

Kelly said, “People who live in public housing or other low-income sections of the city should be able to enjoy a measure of freedom from fear that others may take for granted. That’s why we engage in proactive policing in this city.”

The investigation has tracked several of the weapons that ultimately wound up in the hands of NYPD undercover officers. Weapons were traced to the following states: South Carolina (3); Pennsylvania (4); North Carolina (4); Georgia (2); New York (2) and one each from Virginia, Ohio, Oklahoma, Alabama and Maryland.  A total of 27 were defaced or had partially obliterated serial numbers.
 
Investigators have learned that 14 of the weapons were reported stolen in several states.  One gun was part of a burglary of a licensed gun dealer in South Carolina, where a total of 34 guns were stolen.  One weapon turned out to be the service gun of a Pennsylvania state trooper.  It was stolen from his home, during a burglary earlier this year.

Six of the guns were used to commit crimes in New York City.  One was used in a homicide and two other shootings.  Three guns were used in shootings where someone was shot and injured, and several of these were sold to the undercover officers just days after they had been used in the commission of a crime.

In the first investigation, “Operation V-8”, the indictment alleges, an undercover Brooklyn NYPD Firearms Investigation Unit (FIU) detective bought a total of 51 guns during 29 separate transactions from David “Juice” Augustine, 24. Augustine is charged with multiple counts including Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree and other charges, and faces a maximum term of 25 years in prison..
 
According to the indictment, the sales were made on Flatbush Avenue in East Flatbush. Augustine allegedly sold pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, and semi-automatic handguns to the undercover officer over the course of the investigation.

He allegedly carried the weapons inside guitar cases, allowing him to walk the streets undetected.  

During one of the 29 transactions between Augustine and the undercover, a second man, Richard James, was allegedly involved. He has been indicted for Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
 
In the second investigation, “Operation Trini”, according to the indictment, undercover detectives from Brooklyn FIU bought a total of 87 weapons from Kerwin “Trini” Gobin, 25, between November 2011 and September 2012, in Crown Heights.  

Along with pistols, revolvers and assault rifles, Gobin sold a fully automatic Sten machine gun with a 25-bullet magazine—capable of firing 550 rounds per minute. He transported his arsenal in black plastic bags and duffel bags. After a warrant was issued, police searched Gobin’s home in Crown Heights and recovered 144 rounds of ammunition.

Gobin was indicted on multiple charges including Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree and faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Six others who allegedly supplied guns to Gobin have also been indicted. They are Hassan Pasha, Yolanda Samuel, Stewart Hamilton, Travain Hillaire, Claude Laguerre, and Chris Salikram. They face between seven and 15 years in prison.

In the third investigation, “Operation Gates,” the indictment alleges Henky Martinez, 34, a resident of Bushwick, sold 16 guns to a Manhattan FIU undercover detective between August 2011 and June 2012. Martinez allegedly called or sent text messages to the undercover when he had guns to sell.

Martinez has been indicted on multiple counts, including Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree.  He faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.