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Police Say They Busted Two Major East Harlem Gun Trafficking Rings

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TWC News: Police Say They Busted Two Major East Harlem Gun Trafficking Rings
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Police said Friday that they busted two major gun trafficking rings operating out of East Harlem, in which they say they arrested 13 people. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Ready to go to war on the streets. This is why city officials are so concerned with the amount of weapons in the hands of criminals.

"You can get a better illustration of the problem of illegal guns from what you see before me on this table," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday. "There's a lot of firepower here and you can kill a lot of people with these weapons."

On Friday, the New York City Police Department and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said they arrested 13 people and were looking for others for allegedly running guns in East Harlem. More than 120 weapons were recovered.

"They include everything from an AK-47 assault rifle purchased by an undercover officer for $1,600 to a .32 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun purchased for $400," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Investigators say they busted 64-year-old Mitchell Mickey Collins for allegedly selling 88 guns to undercover officers from the NYPD's Firearms Investigation Unit. They say they also busted much younger crews or gangs around the Carver Houses that sold 21 guns to cops. They supposedly went by names like East River Army and Total Money Gang or TMG.

"Today's case represents one of our most significant gun-trafficking investigations in Manhattan in recent history, both in terms of the number of traffickers taken into custody and the number of guns removed from the streets," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

"For us, this investigation was one of the bigger ones we've had in the last two years," said Deputy Inspector John Burke with the Firearms Investigation Unit. "It ranks up there, I'd say, top five that the office has been doing."

Commissioner Kelly said that every year, police confiscate about 5,000 illegal guns off of the streets of the city. He said close to 90 percent of them come from out of state.

The police commissioner says if you're selling guns, officers are watching.

"Our message is clear," Kelly said. "Don't get involved. We are coming after you."

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