Gun trafficker busted for selling firearms ‘in bulk’ to undercover NYPD cop, weapons bought legally through straw buyers in North Carolina

·2 min read

A ruthlessly ambitious gunrunner sold dozens of firearms to an undercover NYPD officer, trading bags of guns for cash in three broad-daylight deals in Harlem, authorities said Tuesday.

Tyreke Colon, 24, got his guns from North Carolina, enlisting straw buyers to get permits for them, paid those buyers using Cash App, then brought them into New York City, cops and prosecutors said.

In all, he’s accused of selling 34 semiautomatic pistols and two revolvers to an undercover cop for more than $40,000 between February and April.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Tuesday that Colon sold the guns “in bulk.”

“Each time, Colon had bags full of guns and made the sales [in] broad daylight, in the middle of bustling Manhattan,” Bragg said.

Colon was busted on May 19 as he stepped off a bus from North Carolina carrying five pistols and an AR-15-style assault rifle with a high-capacity magazine, prosecutors said. He was indicted on dozens of gun sale and gun possession charges in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday and ordered held without bail.

NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig didn’t specify whom Colon was selling to, but once the cops got wind of his scheme, “we became his exclusive buyer,” he said.

Colon laid out his entire scheme in phone conversations caught on wiretaps, even asking a friend for advice on what he should tell his straw buyers on how to get permits, prosecutors allege.

“What do you have to do once you do the application?” he was recorded asking. “Oh, all right, so once you do the application, you just go up there?”

He also reassured one straw buyer he could still get a permit in North Carolina with a misdemeanor gun conviction, prosecutors said.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell called the bust part of the Police Department’s efforts to combat gun violence, noting the investigation began in December as a probe into gun sales around the Polo Grounds Towers housing development in Washington Heights.

“We are now into our eighth consecutive week of steady declines of of shootings in this city,” she said, adding: “This case represents results. It represents success.”

Shootings are down by nearly 10% this year as of June 5, with 535 shooting incidents compared with 592 in the same time frame in 2021.

Though the city has seen a more than 38% jump in major crimes, murders dropped by nearly 9%, with 178 slayings compared with 195 year-to-date in 2021.