Local News for Brooklyn, by Brooklyn. Arts, Culture, Health and Innovation.
Four men, two from Brooklyn, have been indicted for trafficking guns from South Carolina and Virginia to sell on Brooklyn streets.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the indictment Thursday after a year-long undercover investigation, where 44 guns were purchased by undercover officers.
The two Brooklyn defendants are Montoun Hart, 49, of Brownsville, and Vernal Douglas, 49, of Flatlands. The two other defendents are Christopher Hodges, 31, of Walterboro, South Carolina; and Ira Jones, 42, of South Boston, Virginia.
District Attorney Gonzalez said the indictment was part of a multi-pronged approach to stem the surge in gun violence in Brooklyn and throughout the city this year.
“We are determined to work with the Police Department to focus specifically on the drivers of crime, including those responsible for the proliferation of firearms by bringing them to streets of Brooklyn,” he said. “I commend the detectives, especially the undercovers, and my prosecutors for their joint efforts in this important case.”
Hart and Douglas were arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court. The defendants have been variously charged in a 139-count indictment with first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a firearm; second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon; fourth-degree conspiracy and related charges.
Hart has been remanded and bail was set at $750,000 for Douglas. Jones is awaiting extradition from Virginia. Hodges is being sought.
It is alleged that between Nov. 4 2019 and Jan. 2020, undercover officers bought a total of 44 firearms from Hart, supplied by the other three defendants. The investigation found the three suppliers operated independently, but had similar practices.
Douglas, a subway conductor with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, lives in Flatlands, but also has an address in Williston, South Carolina. It is alleged Douglas obtained firearms during trips to South Carolina and also asked his sources in South Carolina to send him firearms in the mail.
Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison said the indictment was an example of how the NYPD and law-enforcement partners remained focused on eliminating illegal guns from the streets of New York City.
“Bringing gun traffickers to justice is dangerous work, but the NYPD remains committed to protecting New York City communities and keeping people safe,” he said.