The New York City Police Department and the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced Thursday the arrest of two men who officials say were caught mailing guns through the U.S. Postal Service from Georgia to New York City. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Guns, guns and more guns, all of them from Georgia. Two men have been arrested for allegedly sending 49 weapons from the Peach State to a man they didn't know was an undercover New York City police detective.
"Range from a 9-millimeter semiautomatic pistol to an AK-47 sold last April for $1,500," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "The AK-47 had been reported stolen just four days earlier in Jones, Georgia."
Walter Dandridge from the Bronx was arrested. Also arrested was Mark Winston, who used to live on 138th Street and Fifth Avenue in Harlem, but moved to Georgia. He allegedly mailed the guns north, using the United States Postal Service.
Police say Dandridge would cut the deals inside Winston's old building.
"By last September, Winston decided that he preferred to sell directly to the undercover officer," Kelly said. "He said, 'I'm done with Butta,' which was Dandridge's nickname. 'You're going to be my guy in New York.'"
The police commissioner said that from Georgia, Winston would tape guns together, put them in baking pans, stuff clothing in the pans, package it all up and put it in the express mail. He would also get a tracking number for the delivery.
This out-of-state gun bust follows another last month, one the the police commissioner and Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the biggest in city history. Nineteen people were arrested in that bust for allegedly smuggling guns from the Carolinas to New York on discount buses.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said that his Violent Criminal Enterprise Unit has won indictments in 16 gun trafficking cases since 2010.
"In those 16 cases, indicted 36 defendants, taken 555 guns out of commission and off the streets," Vance said. "And the average sentence received by those defendants has been 10-and-a-half years."
As for the two men busted in the Georgia gun case, the top charge against them carries up to 25 years in prison.