DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN - Authorities have arrested the accused ringleader of a gun trafficking ring that brought assault weapons into Brooklyn from Georgia and Pennsylvania, officials say.
A yearlong investigation targeted eight people accused of smuggling guns. Officials say an undercover NYPD officer purchased 112 guns from the suspects, including 20 assault rifles.
The Brooklyn District Attorney's Office says that the alleged ringleader of the group, Michael Bassier, of Canarsie, boasted on the phone about his ability to take advantage of lax gun laws in other states.
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"When I'm out of state, like in Atlanta, Georgia, it's all legal, it's fully legal, but New York it's completely illegal," Bassier said in a wiretapped recording played for reporters at a news conference Wednesday.
Prosecutors accuse Bassier of buying guns for between $150 and $300 out of state and then selling them for as much as $1,200 locally.
Officials say the accused gun-runners transported the weapons on Chinatown buses and sold them out of a Walgreen's parking lot in Canarsie.
Bassier is facing 541 charges, the most severe of which would include a 25-year sentence if convicted.