'Operation: Hotcakes' yields 5 arrests, more than 180 firearms in alleged gun trafficking ring
Authorities announced Thursday that five men were arrested in an alleged gun trafficking ring.
The arrests were the result of a 11-month collaborative investigation between the Queens District Attorney's Office and the NYPD dubbed "Operation: Hotcakes."
Authorities said the gun trafficking originated in Tennessee and the five arrested face more than 1,000 charges all together. The investigation confiscated more than 180 illegal weapons.
"This is why my office, and the New York City Police Department are relentless in our pursuit of illegal weapons," said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Officials said 57-year-old Anthony Sandford allegedly sold five handguns to an undercover officer in the summer of 2021 while his nephew, 40-year-old Oliver Sanford, monitored the purchase. Supposedly, Anthony Sandford sold guns to the officer 22 times between August 2021 to April of this year.
Then in November 2021, an unrelated investigation started, and officers discovered an alleged arms dealer, 28-year-old Jonathan Harris.
Authorities said officers were able to link Harris to the Sanfords and soon they found that there was a much larger alleged operation.
They said it was all connected to 70-year-old Richard Horne who was illegally selling firearms at Tennessee gun shows.
Horne sold to Harris, and Harris allegedly arranged deliveries in Queens and the Bronx to Oliver Sandford and another customer, 44-year-old Thomas Parsley.
Authorities said that none of the defendants have a license to possess or own firearms.
In March of this year, NYPD detectives stopped Parsley in a car after a scheduled pick-up from Harris and found two shopping bags with four loaded pistols. They arrested Harris as he was returning home from Tennessee at the end of April and recovered 29 guns from his trunk.
All the men were arraigned and face charges ranging from sale of firearms to conspiracy.