Another battle won for the war on guns: NYPD and Manhattan DA take down trafficker selling bags of guns

The NYPD and elected officials call them “brazen” as gun traffickers boldly distribute weapons of destruction in broad daylight. 

The armory alleged gun trafficker Tyreke Colon reportedly brought into New York was laid bare at police headquarters Tuesday. Top cop Keechant Sewell and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg surveyed the lineup of handguns and other deadly firearms as they announced the arrest of Colon. 

According to Bragg, Colon sold numerous illegal guns around the Polo Grounds Towers in Upper Manhattan. These weapons were trafficked along the iron pipeline, which police officials say were purchased legally in North Carolina. 

Colon is facing over 40 criminal counts for selling firearms in bulk to an undercover detective on three separate occasions in Harlem.  According to Manhattan District Attorney Bragg, Colon sold 36 guns worth $40,000 in total. He credits the steadfast work of the undercover detectives who utilized wiretaps and GPS data during their investigation showcasing Colon intensons to sell and distribute weapons in Manhattan.

Photo by Dean Moses

“We also discovered that he was recruiting people allegedly to obtain permits to purchase the firearms he was transporting to the city. In addition, we picked up conversations on the wiretap, showing that he asked a friend for instructions to provide to straw purchasers to obtain the necessary permits. He also had brazen conversations with an undercover agent about when he was going to bring guns up to New York City. Once in possession of the weapons, Colon would coordinate sales, both over phones and by texts with the undercover detective and then travel up to Manhattan, either by car or by bus from North Carolina,” Bragg said. 

The investigation spanned three months, from February to April this year, and saw Colon boldly sell bags full of guns in broad daylight in the middle of Manhattan’s bustling city streets. Among these weapons recovered were 34 semi-automatic pistols and two revolvers. Colon was arrested in May and found in possession of five semi-automatic pistols and an AR-15 style assault rifle. 

Photo by Dean Moses

“​​Today we see another strategy investigating and arresting the gun traffickers who bring these weapons into New York City. These 42 guns did not get in the hands of gang members, drug dealers or others who would wreak havoc on our streets. ​​We still have a long way to go but this case and others to come will help ease the gun violence,” Chief of Detectives James Essig said. 

Sewell applauded the department for their continued efforts in attacking gun violence on all fronts, boasting that New York City is in its eighth consecutive week where shootings have steadily declined and gun arrests are up. So far the NYPD has seized over 3,000 guns since January, and Sewell assured that these efforts will continue as they also focus on prevention and deterrence. 

Photo by Dean Moses

“This is the indispensable work of your brave police who save lives. This is the forefront of our public safety mission. This case began with intelligence in December of 2021 of guns being sold illegally around the Polo Grounds Towers, a public housing complex in Upper Manhattan where families live and work where they deserve peace and tranquility. This case represents results. It represents success. This case also highlights how important it is for all law enforcement partners, for all government leaders and all branches to pull in the same direction,” Sewell said.